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LIBR ARY OF PRINCE TON 

JUL 2 7 2007 
THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY | 



EXPOSITORY NOTES 



PRACTICAL OBSERVATIONS, 



THE NEW TESTAMENT 



LORD AND SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST, 



WHEREIN THE 



SACRED TEXT IS AT LARGE RECITED, 

THE SENSE EXPLAINED, AND THE INSTRUCTIVE EXAMPLE OF THE BLESSED 
JESUS, AND HIS HOLY APOSTLES, TO OUR IMITATION RECOMMENDED. 



THE WHOLE DESIGNED TO ENCOURAGE THE READING OF THE SCRIPTURES 

IN PRIVATE FAMILIES, AND TO RENDER THE DAILY PERUSAL 

OF THEM PROFITABLE AND DELIGHTFUL. 



BY WILLIAM BURKITT, M. A. 

lAIK VICAR AND LICTDRKR OF DKDHAK, IN H35EX. 



VOL. I. 



LIBRARY OF PRINCETON 



JUL 27 za 



j jT^EOLOGICAL SEMINARY 



PHILADELP 

PUBLISHED BY THOMAS WARDLE. 

MDCCCXXXV. 



\DC\S 



PRINTED BY J. R. AND C. CHILDS, BUNGAY. 



Right Hon. and Right Rev. Father in God, HENRY, LORD 
BISHOP OF LONDON, one of her Majesty's most Honourable 
Privy Council. 



I 



My LORD, 

F ever my mean labours were a blessing to the people of my charge, I with them, 
^ and they with me, have abundant cause to bless Almighty God for your Lordship, 
who was the immediate instrument of my coming amongst them. 

And we jointly lie under superadded obligations to your Lordship, for repeated in- 
stances of respect to this poor town in general, and to myself in particular, m an allow- 
ance for one to assist the minister of this place, in that great work which is here daily 
incumbent upon him. . t j i,- 

I think myself therefore obliged, both in duty and gratitude, to give your Lordship 
an account how I have spent my time here, (especially since I have had help by your 
Lordship's particular favour;) which has been employed, as I could redeem it, m an 
endeavour to render the reading of the New Testament profitable and delightful to my 
people, both in their families and private apartments. u uu 

In which undertaking my care has been, to be as clear and particular as I could, with 
an eve to the benefit of the plain and unlearned reader; and have suited things, as tar 
as their nature would bear, and my skill would reach, to the most ordmary capacities 
and vulgar apprehensions. , , „ . , , <■ u o+ 

And whatever the success may be, I hope I shall receive the reward of an honest 
endeavour from Him, who estimates our pains, not by their events, which are not m 
our power, but by their natural tendencies, and our sincere intentions. 

Mv Lord controversies are here industriously declined, as inconsistent with ray chiet 
design • yet not so as knowingly to betray any text, or wilfully to deliver up truth 
into the hands of its avowed enemies, whether Papists or Socimans. 

Aeainst the contagious corruptions of the former, and the more refined subtiities, yet 
no lis pernicious errors, of the latter, the clergy of this diocese have been happily an- 
tidoted by your Lordship, at your frequent conferences with them. And the great 
freedom and condescension with which your Lordship is pleased at such times to treat 
us, doth at once invite and oblige us also, upon all occasions, publicly and gratetully 

to acknowledge it. , , . ,- ^ u i i *u„<. 

Yea to your lordship's lastmg honour, and everlasting comfort, be it spoken, that 
not only your own clergy, but these three nations, are inexpressibly indebted, for your 
Lordship's pious care, in instructing in the holy principles of our established religion, the 
dorious Queen MARY of immortal memory, and her illustrious sister our most august 
Queen ANNE when your Lordship had the honour to wait upon them in their tender 
years : from whence her Majesty has been so zealous to run all hazards for its pre- 
servation ever since. i. * ^u i u 

May heaven long, very long, continue your Lordship an ornament to the church, 
an honour to the English nobility, a patron of refugees for the sake of religion, a pat- 
tern of sincere piety towards God, and of the most extensive chanty to all mankind : 
and after many holy and happy days here on earth, crown your Lordship with the re- 
wards of a glorious immortality. So prayeth, in great sincerity. 

My LORD, 

Your Lordship's much obliged and most obedient Servant, 

W. BURKITT. 



To the Right Honourable, CHARLES, Lord FITZ WALTER. 

Mj, lord, 

THE sacred pages inform us of a son, that was nourished up in the -words of faith, 
by his grandmother Lois, and his mother Eimice. 

The like pious care has been taken for your Lordship's rehgious education, by one 
of the wisest of women, and the best of mothers that the age has afforded : and that 
your Lordship's improvement in knowledge and sincere piety, may answer the prayers, 
the tears, the endeavours, of such an endearing parent, who prefers your Lordship's 
temporal happiness abundantly before her own ; I take leave to put a part of the in- 
spired Writings into your Lordship's hand, with an endeavour of viinc, to render the 
reading of them both profitable and delightful to your Lordship. 

Whilst others consume their precious hours in plays and romances, and such like 
corrupting and effeminating trash, which the superfcetafion of the stage furnishes 
the nation with, to the scandal of our hoi" religion, and the grief of all good men ; 
debasing the minds, and debauching thci. nners, of so many amongst us ; that your 
lordship (and others of your noble order with you) may taste such incomparable de- 
light and sweetness in, and experience such invaluable benefit and advantage by, read- 
ing the history of your blessed Redeemer's life and actions, and may thereby be trans- 
formed into his holy likeness here on earth, and spend an eternity in the rapturous con- 
templation and ravishing fruition of him in heaven, is the fervent prayer of. 

My LORD, 

Your Honour's faithful!?/ devoted Servant and Chaplain, 

W. BURKITT, 



To FAMILY GOVERNORS, particularly those of my Charge. 

AS religion did always consist in an imitation of God, and in resemblance of those ex- 
cellences which shine forth in the best and most perfect Being, so we may imi- 
tate him now with much more ease and greater advantage, since his Son was manifest 
in the flesh, and dwelt amongst us : for he was pleased to become 7nan, on purpose to 
show us how we might become like to God, by a daily imitation of his holiness. And it is 
most certain, that God our Father will never own any of us for his children, unless he 
sees upon us the air and features, the impresses and resemblance, of Christ our elder 
Brother. 

This consideration has induced me to set the example of the holy Jesus before ray- 
self and you, in these plain practical Notes upon the holt/ Evangelists, which con- 
tain remarks upon the history of our Saviour's life, docfrijie, and miracles, and of his 
death, resurrection, and ascension : to the intent that the temper of our minds, and the 
actions of our lives, may be a lively transcript of the mind and life of our blessed Re- 
deemer : that we may admire and imitate his unspotted purity, his condescending hu- 
mility, his fervent charity, his patience under sufferings and reproaches, his readiness to 
forgive injuries, and his entire resignation to the Divine will in all conditions of life 
whatsoever : that so following our Lord and Master in all the steps of an imitable 
virtue, and setting his example continually before us, we may be daily correcting and 
reforming our lives by that glorious pattern ; for without present likeness to him, we 
have no grounds to hope that we shall hereafter live with him. 

A true compassion to your souls, and a fervent desire to further their salvation, from 
the press as well as from the pulpit, has put me upon redeeming time for this work. 

I must acknowledge, my constant preaching thrice a week unto you, (besides occa- 
sionals,) and visiting as often a populous atyi scattered parish from house to house 
amongst you, (which I have always accounted a most important part of my duty,) 



[3] 

would allow me but little, too little, time for such a work as this, which I heartily wish had 
fallen upon the shoulders of some that had more leisure, and greater abilities, for writing 
on this noble and lofty subject, which even to eternity can never be exhausted. But 
thus much I can truly say, that earnestly imploring Divine assistance, I have done what 
I could ; my work has been my recreation, and the Lord accept and succeed it. 

And I have this observation to ground my hope of acceptance and success upon, 
that Almighty God has in all ages rendered those labours of his servants, (how mean 
soever in themselves,) most acceptable and useful, which have been employed in the 
profitable explication of any part of the holy Scriptures : as if He, who imprinted such 
a majesty upon the text, delighted also to reflect an honour upon the interpreters thereof. 

My design in preparing and giving these Notes into your hands, is to oblige you 
to read a part of the Holy Scriptures in your families every day : and to invite you 
thereunto, the sacred text is here at large recited, and controversies declined. 

And I do most affectionately request you no-t to suffer the /ioIt/ Word of God, which is 
in all your hands, to lie by you as a neglected book ; but daily to read it in and to 
your families, with a simplicity of mind to be directed and instructed by it. 

All the return I desire from you for this y labour of love, is, your living in a daily 
imitation of that grand pattern of holiness and obedience which is here set before you, 
and in every page recommended to you ; and that we may continue to strive together 
in our prayers one with and one for another, for that grace which may enable us to 
the faithful discharge of our respective duties towards God, towards each other, and all 
mankind. And that the happy union and unanimity which hath hitherto been amongst 
us,- may continue and increase still with us, to the glory of God, the honour of our holy 
religion, the present benefit and comfort, and the eternal joy and rejoicing, both of min- 
ister and people, in the day of the Lord Jesus : which, as it is the fervent prayer, so it 
shall be the constant endeavour, of your unworthy minister, whose highest ambition it 
is to serve you in faith and fellowship of the gospel, whilst I am 

W. BURKITT. 



A 



A PR A YER before the Reading of the Holy Scriptures. 

LMIGHTY God and merciful Father, who hast appointed thy Word to be a 
light to our feet, and a lamp unto our paths, and caused all holy scripture to 
be -written far our learning ; Grant us the assistance of thy Holy Spirit, that we 
may in such wise read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and 
comfort of thy Holy Word we may embrace, and ever hold fast, the blessed hope of 
everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. 

And seeing of thy tender love to mankind thou hast given thy dear and only 
Son, to be unto us both a sacrifice for sin, and also an example of godly life, give us 
grace that we may always most thankfully receive this his inestimable benefit, and 
also daily endeavour ourselves to follow the blessed steps of his most holy life, who 
liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. 
Amea. 



EXPOSITORY NOTES, &c. 



HOLY GOSPEL 



ACCORDING TO 



SAINT MATTHEW. 



The Holy Bible contains the whole Revelation of the will of GOD to the children of men. This 
sacred book is usually divided into the Old and New Testament. The Old Testament contains the 
law and the prophets; the writings of the New Testament are either histories or epistles: the 
histories are tlie four Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles ; the four Gospels were written by the 
four Evangelists whose names they bear ; of whom St. Matthew and St. John were eye-witnesses 
of what they wrote, but St. Mark and St. Luke had what they wrote from the relation of others. 

This Gospel before us, of St. Matthew, contains au history of the birth, life, miracles, death, anil 
resurrection of the holy JESOS; all which are the most stupendous and amazing matters and mysterits 
as well as the most necessary truths to be known and believed, in the world : and 

This Chapter before us contains the genealogy or pedigree of our Saviour JesUS CHRIST, as he was 
man, unto verse 17. and then relates the fact of his wonderful incarnation, to the end of the chapter. 



CHAP. I. 
^T^HE book of the generation of 
Jesus Christ, the son of David, 
the son of Abraham. 

That is, the descent of Jesus Christ, who 
was, according to the flesh, the son of 
David and the son of Abraham, is on this 
wise. And his genealogy from Abraham 
down to his reputed father was thus. Here 
note. That our Evangelist, designing to write 
a narrative of our Saviour's life, begins with 
his pedigree and genealogy, and shews 
whom he descended from, namely, from 
David and Abraham. Where observe, 
1. That David is named before Abraham, 
because he being a king, and an illustrious 
type of the Messias, the Jews expected, and 
do to this day expect, that the son of David 
should reign over them ; and that they 
should enjoy a temporal kingdom by him. 
Observe, 2. The names given to our blessed 
Saviour, Jesus and Christ ; Jesus is his 
Hebrew name, and signifies, A Saviour ; 
Christ is his Greek name, and signifies, 
Anointed : from whence some do infer an 
intimation and encouragement, that both 
Hebrews and Greeks, both Jews and Gen- 
tiles, may alike come unto Christ for life 
and salvation, he being the common Sa- 
viour of both ; according to that of St. John, 
Epist. 1. chap. ii. ver. 2. He is the pro- 
VOL. I. 



pitiation for our sins, and not for ours 
only, but also for the sins of the "whole 
world. 

2 Abraham begat Isaac ; and 
Isaac begat Jacob ; and Jacob be- 
gat Judas and his brethren ; 3 And 
Judas begat Phares and Zara of 
Thamar ; and Phares begat Esrom ; 
and Esrom begat Aram ; 4 And 
Aram begat Amiuadab ; and Ami- 
nadab begat Naasson ; and Naasson 
begat Salmon ; 

Both tl^^ Evangelists, St. Matthew and 
St. Luke, make mention of our Saviour's 
pedigree ; the former by his reputed father's 
side, the latter by his mother's side: the 
design of both was to present us with a 
general draught of our Lord's pedigree and 
descent, and not to be strict and accurate 
in enumerating every individual person. 
This should teach us, not to be over-curious 
in scanning the parts of this genealogy, 
much less captiously to object against it. 
For if the Evangelists were not critical and 
exact in composing this genealogy, why 
should we shew ourselves so in examining 
it ? Rather let us attend to the design of 
the Holy Ghost in writing of it, which was 
two-fold : First, for the honour of our Sa- 
viour, as man, shewing who were his noble 

B 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. I. 



and royal progenitors according to the flesh. 
Secondly, for the confirmation of our faith, 
touching the reality of our Redeemer's in- 
carnation. The scripture making mention 
of all his progenitors, from the first man 
Adam to his reputed father Joseph, will not 
suffer us to doubt either of the truth of his 
human nature, or of the certainty of his be- 
ing the promised Messias. Learn hence. 
That the wisdom of God hath taken all ne- 
cessary care, and used all needful means, 
for the satisfying the minds of all unpreju- 
diced persons touching the reality of Christ's 
human nature, and the certainty of his be- 
ing the promised Messias : for both these 
ends is our Saviour's genealogy and descent 
recorded in the holy scriptures. 

5 And Salmon begat Booz of Ra- 
chab ; and Booz begat Obed of 
Ruth ; and Obed begat Jesse ; 6 
And Jesse begat David tlie king ; 
and David the king begat Solomon 
of her that had been the wife of 
Urias ; 7 And Solomon begat Ro- 
boam ; and Roboam begat Abia ; 
and Abia begat Asa ; 8 And Asa 
begat Josaphat ; and Josaphat be- 
gat Joram ; and Joram begat Ozias ; 
9 And Ozias begat Joatham ; and 
Joatham begat Achaz ; and Achaz 
begat Ezekias ; 10 And Ezekias 
begat Manasses ; and Manasses be- 
gat Amon ; and Anion begat Josias ; 
11 And Josias begat Jechonias and 
his brethi'en, about the time they 
were carried away to Babylon ; 12 
And after they were brought to Ba- 
bylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel ; 
and Salathiel begat Zorobabel ; 13 
And Zorobabel begat Abiud ; and 
Abiud begat Eliakim ; and Eliakim 
begat Azor ; 14 And Azor begat 
Sadoc ; and Sadoc begat Achim ; 
and Achim begat Eliud ; 15 And 
Eliud begat Eleazar ; and Eleazar 
begat Matthan ; and Matthan begat 
Jacob ; 16 And Jacob begat Jo- 
seph the husband of Mary, of whom 
was born Jesus, who is called Christ. 
17 So all the generations from Abra- 
ham to David are fourteen genera- 
tions; and from David antil the 
carrying away into Babylon are 



fourteen generations ; and from the 
carrying away into Babylon unto 
Christ are fourteen generations. 

Observe, Here are several women men- 
tioned in our Saviour's genealogy, and all, 
or most of them, have a brand of infamy 
upon them. Thamar was one, with whom 
her father-in-law Judah committed incest ; 
Rachab is called an harlot ; Ruth came of 
Modb, whom Lot begat of his own daugh- 
ter ; and Bathsheba the wife of Uriah was 
one with whom David had committed 
adultery. Now the wisdom of God has 
thought fit to leave all this upon record 
for several ends and purposes. \. To de- 
note the freeness of God's grace, which 
extends itself in the saving effects and 
benefits of it to them that are most unwor- 
thy and ill-deserving. 2. To encourage 
the greatest sinners to go unto Christ by 
faith, and seek to be ingrafted into him : 
for as Christ by the power of his Godhead 
did purify our nature from all the pollution 
of our ancestors, so he can, by the power 
of his grace and Spirit, sanctify our persons 
and natures, how foul and impure soever 
they either are or have been. 3. Hereby 
our Lord gives us to understand that he 
came to save the most notorious sinners, as 
well as those whose lives have been less 
scandalous. 4. This is recorded for the 
support of such as are illegitimate and base 
born : how vile soever their parents' sin has 
rendered them in the eyes of men, it is their 
own sin only which exposes them to con- 
tempt in the sight of God. It is not ille- 
gitimacy, but unregeneracy, that makes us 
objects of God's wrath. 

18 Now the birth of Christ was 
on this wise : When as his mother 
Mary was espoused to Joseph, be- 
fore they came together, she was 
found with child of the Holy Ghost. 

That is, the birth of Christ was not in the 
ordinary and natural way, but his mother 
Mary was found to be with child by the 
extraordinary and miraculous operation of 
the Holy Ghost. Here note. That the 
espousal of Mary to Joseph was for the 
safety of Christ, and for the credit and re- 
putation of the Virgin. It was for our Sa- 
viour's safety, because being to fly into 
Egypt, he has Joseph his reputed father to 
take care of him ; and it was for the Virgin's 
reputation, lest she should have been ac- 
counted unclean. Learn hence, What a 
special regard Almighty God has to the 



Chap. I. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



fame and reputation of his children : he 
would have them free from tlie least sus- 
picion of evil and dishonesty. Mary being 
espoused to an husband, frees herself from 
the suspicion of naughtiness, and her son 
from the imputation of an illegitimate birth. 
Observe farther, The miraculous conception 
of the holy Jesus ; the Holy Ghost over- 
shadowed the Virgin, and did miraculously 
cause her conception without the help of 
an human father. Thus Christ was the 
Son of God as well in his human as in his 
divine nature ; he must needs be a perfect 
holy person, who was purely conceived by 
the Holy Spirit's operation. 

19 Then Joseph her husband, 
being, a just man, and not willing 
to make her a public example, was 
minded to put her away privily. 

That is, being a holy person, and a strict 
observer of the rites of his nation, he was 
unwilling to company with a defiled wo- 
man, and therefore minded to put her away 
by giving a bill of divorce into her hand 
before two witnesses ; but being kind and 
gentle, he intended to put her away pri- 
vih/, lest she should have been exposed, 
and stoned to death. Observe here. How 
early our dear Lord's sufferings began ; he 
and his motlier are designed to be put away, 
even when he was but an embryo in the 
womb. Observe farther, From the great 
clemency of Joseph toward the suspected 
Virgin, that kind and merciful men always 
presume the best, and prosecute with gen- 
tleness, especially where life is concerned. 
Meek Joseph doth resolve upon the milder 
course, and chooses rather to put her away 
privily, than publicly to expose her. 

20 But while he thought on these 
things, behold, the angel of the 
Lord appeared unto him in a dream, 
saying, Joseph, thou son of David, 
fear not to take unto thee Mary thy 
wife ; for that which is conceived 
in her is of the Holy Ghost. 

Two things are here observable 5 namely, 
the care that Almighty God takes, 1. For 
Joseph'' s satisfaction. 2. For vindicating 
the Virgin's reputation. For Joseph's sa- 
tisfaction an angel is despatched, to give 
assurance that the Virgin was not defiled 
by man, but overshadowed by the Holy 
Ghost. Whence note, That Almighty God 
v/ill certainly find out ways and means for 
the people's satisfaction, when they are wil- 



ling, and desirous above all things, to come 
to the knowledge and right understanding 
of their duty. Observe, 2. Hovif the angel 
clears the Virgin's innocency, as well as 
satisfies Joseph's doubtings, by assuring him, 
that what was conceived in her was by the 
Holy Ghost. Learn lience. That God will 
in his own time clear the innocency of such 
as suffer in their name and reputation for 
the sake of Christ, though for the present 
they may lie under the burden of disgrace 
and shame. 

21 And she shall bring forth a 
son, and thou shalt call his name 
JESUS : for he shall save his people 
from their sins. 

Observe here, L A prediction of our Sa- 
viour's birth ; the Virgin shall bring forth 
a son. 2. A precept for the imposition of 
his name; Thoti shalt call his name Jesus, 
that is, a Saviour. 3. The reason why that 
name was given him ; because he should 
save his people, not temporally, as Joshua 
did the Israelites from their enemies, but 
spiritually and eternally, from their sins ; 
not ill their sins, but from them : that is, 
from the guilt and punishment, from the 
power and dominion, of them. Observe, 
4. The peculiar subjects of this privilege ; 
his people : He shall save his people from 
their sins. Learn, 1. That sin is the evil 
of evils ; or that sin, considered in itself, is 
comparatively the greatest and worst of 
evils. 2. That the great end of Christ's 
coming into the world, was to be a Saviour 
from this evil. 3. That Christ's own peo- 
ple do want, and stand in need of, a Sa- 
viour, as well as others : if he does not save 
them from their sins, they must die in and 
for their sins, as well as others. Therefore 
he saves them from sin three ways ; L By 
obtaining pardor or sin, and in reconciling 
us to God. 9 jy weakening the reigning 
power of sin, a.nd implanting a new prin- 
ciple of holiness in the heart. 3. By per- 
fecting and accomplishing all these happy 
beginnings at the end of this life, in heaven. 
Dr. Hammond's Pract. Catech. 

22 Now all this was done, that 
it might b-" fulfilled which was spo- 
ken of the Lord by the prophet, say- 
ing, 23 Behold, a virgin shall be 
with child, and shall bring forth a 
son, and they shall call his name 
Emmanuel ; which being interpret- 
ed, is, God with us. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. II. 



Of all the prophets of the Old Testa- 
ment; the prophet Esay has the honour to 
be first recited in the New. Here the 
Evangelist quotes his prophecy of Christ's 
incarnation, Behold, a virgin shall he with 
child. Learn thence, That the great mystery 
of our Saviour's wonderful incarnation was 
(though darkly) revealed to the church of 
God under the Old Testament. Observe 
farther. The name given to our Saviour 
under the Old Testament, Emmajiuel, that 
is, God -with us : God manifest in our 
flesh ; God appearing in our nature ; God 
reconciling man to himself. O happy and 
blessed union of two natures in one person : 
Christ is God and man united, that God and 
man may be reconciled. 

24 Then Joseph, being raised 
from sleep, did as the angel of the 
Lord had bidden him, and took 
unto him his wife : 

Joseph is no sooner assured that Mary 
is with child by the overshadowing power 
of the Holy Ghost, but he instantly obeys 
the Lord's command, and takes Mary to 
him, without farther disputing or delaying. 
Learn thence. That a gracious person, when 
once satisfied in God's word of command, 
disputes no farther, but instantly complies 
with the will of God, even in the most 
hazardous and difficult duties. 

25 And knew her not till she had 
brought forth her first-born son : 
and he called his name JESUS. 

It is piously believed, though not posi- 
tively in scripture asserted, that the Virgin 
had no other child but our Saviour ; it is 
a very probable opinion, though not an 
infallible article of faith, as the church of 
Rome would make it : for the word until 
signifies in scripture, as much as never. 
So Gen. xxviii. 15. I will not leave thee 
until I have done that which I have pro- 
mised! that is, I will never leave thee. So 
the words following, her first-born son, do 
not imply that she had any child after, but 
that she had none before. That child 
which first openeth the womb, is usually 
in scripture called the first-born, though 
there was no other born after. Thus, Josh. 
xvii. 1. Machir is called the first-born of 
Manasseh, though "he had no more chil- 
dren. So ti, * Christ not only as God, but 
also as he was nidn, was the first-born and 
only son. St. Austin expounds and ap- 
plies Ezek. xliv. 2. to the Virgin Mary ; 
This gale shall be shut, and it shall not 



he opened, and no man shall enter in by 
it ; because the Lord God of Israel hath 
entered in by it, therefore it shall be 
shut. And others of the ancients say. 
That as Christ lay in a tomb, in which 
none lay before himself, so he lodged in a 
womb, in which none ever lay, either be- 
fore or after himself. But he said, 3,uid 
post partum secutum erat curiost non est 
quwrendum : What the Virgin was after- 
wards, is of small concern to the mystery ; 
therefore not to be enquired after. And 
yet it is now passed by some into a matter 
of faith, that the Virgin Mary was ever a 
virgin, and it hath been styled an heresy to 
hold the contrary ; but how it is consistent 
with good divinity to make that an article 
of divine faith, which is founded on no 
divine revelation, or to make that necessary 
to be believed, which confessedly is not 
contained in the holy scripture, let the 
church of Rome answer. 

CHAP. II. 

Our Saviour's miraculous conception, by the power 
of tlie Holy Ghost, being recorded in tlie first 
chapter, several remarkable circumstances relat- 
ingr to his birth are set down in this: as, namely, 
The place of his birth, lictli-lehem ; and the 
time, In the days of Herod the king. 

"VrOW when Jesus was born in 
Bethlehem of Judea, in the 
days of Herod the king, behold, 
there came wise men from the east 
to Jerusalem, 

Observe here, 1. The place of our Lord's 
birth, Bethlehem : he was born, not at 
Athens, not at Rome, not at Jerusalem, not 
in any opulent or magnificent city, but in 
the meanest of the cities of Judah ; thereby 
shewing us, that his kingdom was not of 
this world, and that he little regarded pomp 
and outward greatness. O how can we be 
abased enough for Christ, that thus neg- 
lected himself for us! Observe, 2. The 
time of our Lord's birth. In the days of 
Herod the king. This Herod being a 
foreigner, and made king by the Romans 
which now reigned over the Jews ; in him 
was fulfilled Jacob's prophecy, Gen. xlLx. 
10. That the sceptre should not depart 
from Judah, that is, the Jews should have 
governors of their own nation, until Shiloh 
come; that is, until Christ, the promised 
Messiah, come in the fiesh. So that, con- 
sidering the circumstances of time and 
place, where and when Christ was born, it 
was and is wilful obstinacy, in the Jews, to 
deny that the Messiah is come in the flesh. 
Observe, 3. That tribute of honour which 



Chap. II. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



■was paid unto our Saviour at his birth : 
the wise mea of the east came and wor- 
shipped him ; that is, the Chaldean, Arabi- 
an, or Persian astronomers, who, as the 
first-fruits of the Gentiles, seek after Christ ; 
whilst the Jews, his own people, rejected 
him. Oh, how will their coming so far 
as the east to seek Christ, rise up another 
day in judgment against us, if we refuse to 
be foun(^ by Christ, who came from heaven 
to seek us ! 

2 Saying, Where is he that is 
horn king of the Jews ? for we have 
seen his star in the east, and are 
come to worship him. 

Observe here, 1. The inquiry that they 
make after Christ : they do not ask •whether 
he was born, but -where he was born ; not 
doubting of the fact, but ignorant of the 
place. Observe, 2. The ground of their 
inquiry, For -we have seen his star : they 
had seen a star, but how did they know it 
was his star ? Probably by divine revela- 
tion ; they had a light within, as well as a 
star without, or they had never found 
Christ. It is likely the Holy Spirit's illu- 
mination accompanied the star's apparition. 
As God made known the birth of Christ to 
the Jews by an angel, so he manifested the 
same to the Gentiles by a new-created star. 
Observe, 3. The end of their journey : We 
are come to -worship him ; that is, to pay 
all that honour and homage Avhich is due 
to a great and mighty prince ; all that 
adoration and worship which belongs to 
the promised Messiah, the Redeemer of the 
world. All honour and homage, all glory 
and worship, is due to Christ from the 
sons of men, and will be given him by 
those that know him. 

3 When Herod the king had 
heard these things, he was trouhled, 
and all Jerusalem with him. 

Observe here. That when Christ came 
into the world to save men, it cast the world 
into a consternation, and caused wonderful 
disturbance. Herod is first concerned, and 
next all Jerusalem with him : Herod, for 
fear of losing his kingdom ; Jerusalem, for 
fear of new commotions. Thus Christ, 
who was the angel's song, the wise men's 
joy, Israel's consolation, becomes Herod's 
fear, and Jerusalem's terror. But why was 
Herod thus disturbed ? 'Tis true, a king is 
bom, but one whose kingdom is not of this 
world ; 'twas Herod's false apprehension 



that was the cause of this perturbation. 
Hence we see that the greatest enmities, 
and the bitterest animosities, have arisen 
from causeless fears, and groundless jea- 
lousies. 

4 And when he had gathered 
all the chief priests and scribes of 
the people together, he demanded 
of them where Christ should be 
born. 5 And they said unto him. 
In Bethlehem of Judea : for thus 
it is written by the prophet, 6 And 
thou Bethlehem, in the land of 
Juda, art not the least among the 
princes of Juda : for out of thee 
shall come a Governor, that shall 
rule my people Israel. 

Herod, being in great perplexity, con- 
vened a council of the chief priests and 
scribes, and demands of them the place 
where Christ the promised Messiah was to 
be born : they readily reply, out of the 
prophet Micah, chap. v. 2. that Beth-lehem 
v/as the place ; this was the city of David's 
birth, and of Christ's the son of David. 
Bethlehc7n signifies the house of bread, 
and was so called from its fertility and 
fruitfulness, and, as some think, with re- 
ference to Christ, the true bread of life, 
born there. Bethlehem was a mean and 
contemptible place in itself ; but being 
honoured with Christ's presence, how great 
is it ! Learn thence. That the presence of 
Christ dignifies and exalts a place, how 
mean soever in itself. Bethlehem, though 
a little city in itself, yet is not the least 
among the cities of Judah, because Christ 
is born there. 

7 Then Herod, when he had 
privily called the wise men, en- 
quired of them diligently what time 
the star appeai-ed. 8 And he sent 
them to Bethlehem ; and said. Go 
and search diligently for the young 
child ; and when ye have found 
him, bring me word again, that I 
may come and worship him also. 

Observe here, 1. How Herod cloaks his 
intended cruelty with disguised hypocrisy ; 
he had a murder in his heart, when he 
pretended to worship Christ with his 
mouth. There is no villany so great, but 
will mask itself under a pretence and show 
of piety. Herod veils his intent to kill 
Christ with a pretence to worsliip him. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Observe, 2. Herod calls him the young 
child, not the young king ; that word was 
too big to come out of Herod's proud 
mouth ; he could neither bear the thing, nor 
brook the title. A king 'tis true he is, but 
one that will never be thy rival ; he has a 
kingdom, but it is not of this world. Ob- 
serve, 3. How craftily Herod lays his plot : 
he desires the wise men to enquire tho- 
roughly, and to inform him privately. To 
be wise in doing mischief, is the worst wis- 
dom in the worid : 'tis not the wisdom from 
above, but from hell beneath. 

9 When they had heard the king, 
they departed : and, lo, the star, 
which they saw in the east, went 
before them, till it came and stood 
over where the young child was. 

10 When they saw the star, they 
rejoiced with exceeding great joy, 

11 And when they were come into 
the house, they saw the young child 
with Mary his mother, and fell down, 
and worshipped him : and when 
they had opened their treasures, 
they presented unto him gifts ; gold, 
and frankincense, and myrrh. 

Observe here, 1. How the star, which 
for some time disappeared, now appears 
again, to their farther direction in finding 
Christ : teaching us, that God will not be 
wanting to such as are on the way to seek 
Christ, but will renew directions and en- 
couragements to them, according as they 
stand in need ; none ever sincerely sought 
Christ, but they certainly found him at the 
last. Obs. 2. That the joy which ariseth 
in such a soul as has found Christ, is unut- 
terable and unspeakable : the wise men here 
rejoiced with joy, with great joy, with 
exceeding great joy. Obs. 3. The wise 
men have found this young king, they 
bring presents to him, according to the 
manner of the eastern countries ; namely, 
gold, frankincense, and myrrh, which were 
the principal commodities of the east. But 
the best present we can make to Christ, is 
ourselves : he seeks not ours, but us ; and 
rather desires what we are than what we 
have. Yet the providence of God was 
wonderfully seen in these presents, for 
hereby provision was made for the suste- 
nance of Joseph and Mary, and the child 
Jesus, in their exile, or flight into Egypt, 
which they were shortly to undergo. 

12 And being warned of God in a 



Chap. IJ. 



dream that they should not return to 
Herod, they departed into their own 
country another way. 

God having warned these wise men in a 
dream not to go back to Herod, they return 
home another way. But did these wise 
men play the parts of honest men, in that 
they returned not again to Herod ? Answ. 
It appears not that they promised Herod to 
return, though he expected it ; or if they 
did, it was in consideration that Herod 
should come ? d worship Christ, not mur- 
der and destroy him. But if they promised 
him never so positively, God Almighty 
gave them a dispensation from that promise, 
by commanding them to return home ano- 
ther way. Herod kept his design against 
Christ close from the wise men, but he 
could not conceal his intentions from the 
infinitely wise God ; he knew the purposes 
of his heart, and, by his providence, kept 
Christ out of his hand. There is no wis- 
dom, nor understanding, nor counsel, 
against the Lord. 

13 And when they were departed, 
behold, the angel of the Lord ap- 
peareth to Joseph in a dream, say- 
ing, Arise, and take the young child 
and his mother, and flee into Egypt, 
and be thou there until I bring thee 
word : for Herod will seek the young 
child, to destroy him. 14 When he 
arose, he took the young child and 
his mother by night, and departed 
into Egypt : 15 And was there un- 
til the death of Herod, that it might 
be fulfilled which was sj)oken of the 
Lord by the prophet, saying. Out of 
Egypt have I called my son. 

Observe here, 1. Our Lord's humiliation, 
by persecution in the very morning of his 
life; he was banished almost as soon as 
born. Tlee into Egypt, for Herod loill 
seek the young child to destroy him. Un- 
grateful Herod! Was this entertainment for 
a Saviour ? What ! raise the country upon 
Christ, as if a destroyer, rather than a Sa- 
viour, had landed upon thy coasts .' Oh ! 
barbarous injustice ! to deny a subject the 
protection of those laws under which he 
was born : the child of a beggar might 
claim that as his birthright, which was here 
denied to the Son of God. Lord! how 
great an humiliation was this, not only to 
become an infant, but in thine infancv to 
be hurried up and down, and driven oiit of 



Chap. II. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



thine own land as a vagabond ! Obs. 2. 
How our Lord himself in a time of persecu- 
tion flies for safety, who was able a thousand 
ways to have preserved himself from danger : 
teaching us that in times of difficulty and 
danger, 'tis neither unwarrantable nor unbe- 
coming to preserve our lives by flight ; 
surely 'tis no shame for us to fly, when our 
Captain doth both practise it, and command 
it also. Christ by his own example hath 
sanctified that state of life unto us, and by 
his command has made it lawful for us. 
Obs. 3. The place which Christ flies unto 
for safety, and that is Egypt : an unlikely 
place, considered in itself; who could ex- 
pect liberty in that house of bondage ? But 
any place is good, if God sends us thither, 
and Christ be in our company. His pre- 
sence can make Egypt itself not only safe, 
but delightful also. Obs. 4. How readily 
Joseph complies with the divine command : 
instantly he arose, and took the i/oung 
child, and Jled. Faith gave wings to his 
obedience, and instantly vanquished all his 
fears, and atTorded a fuller supply than all 
the treasures of the Arabian princes. Teach- 
ing us. That when our direction is clear, 
our compliance is speedy. We cannot be 
too forward and expeditious in the execution 
of divine commands. Obs. 5. Though 
Joseph at the divine command of God flies 
presently from Herod's rage, yet he flies 
privately, by night, and prudently begins 
his journey when least notice should be 
taken of his motion: teaching us. That 
although v,e have never so many promises 
of safety and deliverance, yet we must not 
put God upon working miracles for our 
preservation, when it may be obtained in 
the use of means. 

1 6 Then Herod , when he seav that 
he Avas mocked of the wise men, 
was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, 
and slew all the children that were 
in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts 
thereof, from two years old and 
under, according to the time which 
he had diligently enquired of the 
wise men. 

Observe here. How Herod, having played 
the fox before, acts the lion now ; his secret 
policy not succeeding, he breaks out into 
open and inhuman cruelty. J-.eam, That 
when fraud and subtilty fail the enemies of 
the church, then they fall to open rage, and 
barbarous inhumanity. Thus here these 
holy innocents fall as a sacrifice to Herod's 



rage, and die for Christ, who came to die 
for them ; and so were martyrs in deed, 
though not in wUl. Some affirm that He- 
rod did not spare his own child, then at 
nurse in the coasts of Bethlehem; which 
made Augustus say. He had rather be He- 
rod's hog, than Herod's child ; because the 
Jews did never eat swine's flesh. And 
Herod, in compliance with the Jews, ab- 
stained from it also. 

17 Then was fulfilled that which 
was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, 
saying, 18 In Rama was there a 
voice heard, lamentation, and weep- 
ing, and great mourning, Rachel 
weeping ybr her children, and would 
not be comforted, because they are 
not. 

Observe here. The loud and bitter cry 
which the mothers of Bethlehem make for 
the death of their innocent children which 
were barbarously slain by the sword of 
Herod ; here was lamentation, weeping, 
and great mourning made by Rachel, that 
is, by the women inhabiting in and about 
Bethlehem, where Rachel's sepulclire was : 
for the land about Bethlehem was called 
Rachel, from her sepulchre, so famous in 
those parts. Rachel here is not the name 
of a person, but of a place. Observe, 2. 
The cause and reason of this cry and bitter 
lamentation : the mothers weep, not because 
the children ai'e, but because they are not ; 
they did not, with some wicked parents, 
repine because they had children, but be- 
cause they had lost them: mothers have 
the sharpest throes both in their children's 
births and burials. As children in their 
births are their mothers' Benjamins ; so in 
their burial they are their mothers' Benonis, 
sons of sorrow. 

19 But when Herod was dead, 
behold, an angel of the Lord ap- 
peareth in a dream to Joseph in 
Egypt, 20 Saying, Arise, and take 
the young child and his mother, and 
go into the land of Israel : for they 
are dead which sought the young 
child's life. 

Observe, 1. Herod's death : like a bloody 
persecutor, he is sent unlamented to his 
grave. Historians say, that out of his body 
issued forth such impure streams of blood, 
that the loathsomeness and pain made him 
attempt the killing of himself. God seldom 
suffers persecutors to pass in quiet to their 



8 



ST. MATTHEW. 



graves ; they rarely die the common death 
of all men, having no other balm at their 
funeral than their own blood. Observe, 2. 
The happy consequence of Herod's death. 
Christ is now called home without danger : 
Herod being sent to his grave, the coast is 
clear for the return of the holy famil y . The 
death of persecutors is the delivery of the 
persecuted. Observe, 3. An angel is des- 
patched to acquaint Joseph with Herod's 
death. O how cheerfully do those glorious 
spirits execute the commands of their sove- 
reign Master ! With what delight do they 
carry the message of God's kindness to their 
fellow-creatures ! Lord, what an argument 
is this of thy love unto us, that in this our 
pilgrimage state thou allowest us thine own 
royal guard to attend and preserve us ! 

21 And he arose, and took the 
voung- child and his mother, and 
came into the land of Israel. 22 
But when he heard that Archelaus 
did reign in Judea in the room of 
his father Herod, he was afraid to 
go thither : notwithstanding, being 
warned'of God in a dream, he turned 
aside into the parts of Galilee : 

Observe here, 1. The just fear that Jo- 
seph has upon his mind, that Herod's son 
would be as bloody a tyrant as his flagitious 
father. No wonder that the children of 
cruel persecutors are suspected to tread in 
their bloody parents' steps. Observe, 2. 
How God's warrant and direction doth 
quiet Joseph's mind, resolve his double, and 
remove his fears, and make him readily 
comply with the command of God: Behig 
warnc-d of God, he removes out of Egypt 
into Galilee. O how safe and satisfactory 
is it in all our ways to follow the call and 
command of God ! Joseph and Mary durst 
not move their feet, no not out of Egypt 
itself, till God gives them a warrant for their 
departure, and bids them go. 

23 And he came and dwelt in a 
city called Nazareth : that it might 
be fulfilled which was spoken by the 
prophets, He shall be called a"^Na- 
zarene. 

A threefold interpretation is given of 
these words. He shall be called a Naza- 
rene. Some read the words, 1. He shall 
be called a Nazarite. The Nazarites were 
a religious and separate rank of persons 
among the Jews, who abstained from wine, 
and came not near the dead for fear of pol- 



Chap. III. 



lution. Christ was a holy person, but no 
Nazarite, in a strict sense j for he drank 
wine, and touched the dead. 2. Othere 
read the words. He shall be called a Net- 
zer, a branch, in allusion to Isa. xi. 1. 
where he is called a Branch of the root of 
Jesse. Christ was the true branch of which 
the prophets had so often spoken. 3. Others 
will have the word Nazarene refer to the 
city of Nazareth, where Christ was conceiv- 
ed, and lived most of his time: He shall 
be called a Nazarene, because he dwelt at 
Nazareth. Hence his disciples were called 
the sect of the Nazarenes ; that is, the fol- 
lowers of him that dwelt at Nazareth : and 
Christ himself is pleased to own the title. 
Acts xxii. 8. I am Jesus of Nazareth, 
whoyn thou persecutest. Learn from hence, 
the great humility of mind that was found 
in our Saviour. He was born at Bethle- 
hem, a little city ; he lives at Nazareth, a 
poor, contemptible place: he aspires not 
after the grandeur of the world, but is meek 
and lowly in spirit. May the same humble 
mind be in us, which was also in Christ 
Jesus ! 

CHAP. HI. 

This Evangelist liaving; declared our Saviour's mira- 
culous conception in tlie first chapter, and re- 
corded several remarkable circumstances relating 
to his birth in the second chapter, in this chaptet 
before us he passes over in silence the whole 
course of our Saviour's life in private ; taking no 
notice how he spent his minority whilst he dwelt 
2t Nazareth, which was till he was thirty years 
old ; at which time he entered upon his public 
ministry, having John the Baptist for his harbin- 
ger and forerunner, as this chapter fully in- 
forms us. •' 

JN those days came John the Bap- 
tist, preaching in the wilderness 
of Judea, 2 And saying. Repent 
ye : for the kingdom of heaven is at 
hand. 

Observe here, 1. The preacher sent by 
God, John the Baptist ; a pattern of mor- 
tification, and a preacher of repentance. 
Observe, 2. The place he was sent to 
preach in, The -wilderness of Judea ; not 
in populous Jerusalem, but in a barren wil- 
derness, where inhabitants are few, and 
probably very ignorant and rude. Learn 
hence, That it is God's prerogative to send 
forth the preachers of the gospel when, and 
whither, and to what people, he pleases; 
and none must assume the office before he 
be sent. Observe, 3. The doctrine that he 
preaches ; namely, the doctrine of repent- 
ance. Repent yc. Tliis was to prepare the 
people for the Messiah, and the grace of 
the gospel. Learn thence, That the preach- 



Chap. III. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Q 



ing of the doctrine of repentance is abso- 
lutely necessary, in order to the preparing 
of the hearts of sinners for the receiving 
Christ Jesus and his holy doctrine. Ob- 
serve, 4. The motives which St. John uses 
to enforce the exhortation to repentance : 
The kingdom of heaven is at hand: that 
is. Now is the so much expected time of 
the appearing of the Messiah come ; the 
Old-Testament dispensation is now to be 
abolished, and the mercy and grace of the 
gospel is now to be revealed : therefore re- 
pent, and amend your lives. Note thence. 
That the free and full tenders of grace and 
mercy in the gospel, are the most allurmg 
arguments to move a sinner to repent, and 
to convert to God. 

3 For this is he that was spoken 
of by the prophet Esaias, sayinq:. 
The voice of one crying in the wil- 
derness, Prepare ye the way of the 
Lord, make his paths straight. 

The papists, from John Baptist's living in 
the wilderness, would make him the first 
foimder of the order of the hermits, but very 
groundlessly. For, 1. "What he did was 
by God's command ; what they do, is by 
the dictates of their own fancy. He busied 
himself in preaching in the wilderness; 
they bury themselves alive, and do notliing. 
2 . He lived in the wilderness but for a time, 
afterwards we find him at court, preaching 
a sermon to Herod, but they bind themselves 
by a vow to live and die hermits. 

4 And the same John had his rai- 
ment of camel's hair, and a leathern 
girdle about his loins : and his meat 
was locusts and wild honey. 

The plainness of John's habit and diet 
is here declared : He was habited in a plain 
suit of camel's hair, much as Elijah was be- 
fore him : and as his habit was plain, so 
his diet was ordinary ; feeding upon herbs, 
and such things as the wilderness affords. 
Hence it was that Nazianzen said. He was 
all voice •, a voice in his habit, a voice in 
his diet, and a voice in his whole conver- 
sation. His example teaches us, that the 
ministers of the gospel are not to affect 
bravery in apparel, or delicacy in diet, 
but having the necessary comforts and need- 
ful conveniences of life, to be therewith con- 
tent. 

5 Then went out to him Jerusa- 
lem, and all Judea, and all the region 
round about Jordan, 



Observe here, The great encouragement 
which John had in his ministry, from the 
people's attendance upon it : he was now 
fishing for souls, and God brought the 
people very thick about the net of the gos- 
pel, and multitudes were enclosed, no doubt, 
to his joy and great satisfaction. For it is 
matter of great rejoicing to the ministers of 
Christ, when they find their people forward 
to encourage their ministry by a diligent 
attendance. 

6 And were baptized of him in 
Jordan, confessing their sins. 

This place the papists bring to support 
their doctrine of auricular confession ; but 
very gi'oundlessly. For, 1. The confes- 
sion of those converts was voluntary, and 
not constrained. 2. It was general, and 
not of every particular sin. 3. It was pub- 
lic and open, not in the ear of a priest. 4. 
It was a confession of sin committed be- 
fore baptism, not after they were baptized : 
in all which circumstances it differs from 
the auricular confession of the church of 
Rome very greatly. Note, The confession of 
sin past, together with a profession of faith 
in, and obedience to, Christ for the time to 
come, are necessary requisites and qualifi- 
cations in all persons of riper years that are 
admitted to baptism. John admitted these 
persons to baptism, upon their confession 
of sin and promises of amendment. From 
whence we may learn, that such persons 
as have been very bad, upon a profession 
of their repentance, and promising to be- 
come better, may be admitted to the holy 
sacrament, provided that we warn il.cm, 
as the Baptist did these, not only to make 
profession of repentance, but to bring forth 
fmits worthy of repentance. 

7 But when he saw many of the 
Pharisees and Sadducees come to his 
baptism, he said unto them, O gene- 
ration of vipers, who hath warned 
you to flee from the wrath to come ? 
8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet 
for repentance : 9 Anr* think not 
to say within yourselves , We have 
Abraham to our father : for I say 
unto you. That God is able of these 
stones to raise up children unto 
Abraham. 

Here we have the entertainment which 
John gave to his unexpected auditors, the 
Pharisees and Sadducees, which came to 
hear him, and to be baptized by him. He 
gives them first a quick and cutting com- 



10 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. III. 



pellation, O generation of vipers! next a 
sharp and severe reprehension, Who liath 
warned you tojlcefrom the wrath to come ?- 
It was matter of wonder and admiration to 
see such men turn proselytes. Note thence, 
That the condition of proud Pharisees, 
pretending and false-hearted hypocrites, 
though it be very dangerous, yet is not 
hopeless and desperate 5 and their salvation, 
though very improbable, yet must not be 
despaired of as impossible : and accordingly 
the Baptist, having given them a smart re- 
proof, subjoins a seasonable exhortation. 
Bring forth fruits 7neet for repentance ; 
as if he had said, Do not satisfy yourselves 
v/ith a bare profession of repentance, but 
let us see the fruits of repentance in your 
daily conversation. Learn thence, That 
sincere repentance is not a barren thing, but 
constantly brings forth the fruits of holiness 
ansv/erable to its nature. As the body 
Vi'ithout the spii-it, and as faith without 
works, is dead ; so repentance without fruits 
is dead also. Observe farther, How he en- 
forces his exhortation with a necessary cau- 
tion : Think not to say within yourselves. 
We have 'Abraham io our father, S)-c. As 
if he had said, Trust not to your outward 
privileges, and glory not in them ; flatter 
not yourselves, that because you are Abra- 
ham's seed, and the only visible church, that 
therefore the judgments of God will not 
reach you ; for God can, out of the obdu- 
rate Gentile world, who now worship stones, 
raise up a people to himself and take them 
into covenant with himself, and cast you all 
out, who have Abraham's blood running in 
your veins, but nothing of Abraham's faith 
in your hearts, nor of his obedience in your 
lives. Now from St. John's plain dealing 
with these hypocritical Pharisees, we learn. 
That it is the duty, and ought to be the en- 
deavour, of the ministers of Christ, to drive 
hypocrites from their vain confidence, who 
do constantly bear up themselves upon their 
external privileges, in the enjojTnent of 
which they promise themselves a freedom 
from the judgments of God. Think not to 
say within yourselves. We have. Sec. 

10 And now also the axe is laid 
unto the root of the trees : tlierefore 
every tree which bringeth not forth 
f^ood fruit is hewn down, and cast 
into the fire. 

The Baptist having preached the doctrine 
of repentance in the fomier verses, he backs 
it with a powerful motive in tliis verse, 
drawn from the certainty, the severity, and 



suddenness of that vengeance which would 
come upon them if they continued im- 
penitent ; Now is the axe laid to the root of 
the trees. Learn, I. That those whose 
hearts are not pierced with the s^vord of 
God's word, shall certainly be cut down 
and destroyed by the axe ot his judgments. 
Learn, 2. That it is not unsuitable for gos- 
pel-preachers to press repentance and 
holiness of life upon their hearers from 
arguments of terror ; John does it here, 
and Christ elsewhere. Observe farther. 
That forasmuch as the sin here specified is 
a sin of omission, which brings this sore 
and severe judgment. Every tree that bring- 
eth not forth good fruit, as well as that 
which bringeth forth evil fruit, is h ewn down, 
and cast into the f re ; we may gather, that 
sins of omission are certainly damning as 
well as sins of commission ; the neglects of 
duty are as dangerous and damnable as the 
acts of sin. Such trees as stand in God's 
orchard, and bring forth no good fruit, are 
marked out as fuel for the devil's fire. 

11 I indeed baptize you with water 
unto repentance : but he that cometh 
after me is mightier than I, whose 
shoes I am not worthy to bear : he 
shall baptize yoji with the Holy 
Ghost, and ivith fire. 

In these words John declares the ex- 
cellency of Christ's person and ministry 
above his own. As to his person, he owns 
that he was not worthy to carry his shoes 
after him, or to perfonn the lowest offices 
of service for him. And as to his office, 
he declares that Christ should not baptize 
as he did, with water, but with the Holy 
Ghost, and with fire ; that is, should plen- 
tifully pour down of the gifts and graces of 
the Holy Spirit upon his proselytes, which, 
like fire, in their operation should purify 
their hearts from sin, consuming their lusts 
and corruptions; but at the same time 
he has a fiery indignation, and flaming 
judgments, to destroy and burn up im- 
penitent sinners like combustible stubble. 
Where observe. How Christ is represented 
by one and the same metaphor of fire, in a 
way of comfort to his children, and in away 
of terror unto his enemies ; he is a fire unto 
both : he sits in his church as a refiner's fire ; 
he is amongst his enemies as a consuming 
fire ; a fire for his church to take comfort 
in, a fire for his enemies to perish by. 

12 Whose fan i$ in his hand, and 
he will thoroughly pnrge his floor. 



Chap. III. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



11 



and gather his wheat mto the garner ; 
but he will burn up the chaff with un- 
quenchable fire. 

In these words the Baptist compares 
Christ, the promised IMessiah, to an hus- 
bandman, the Jewish church to a barn-floor. 
The office of the husbandman is to thrash, 
fan, and winnow his corn, separating it from 
the chaff; presei-ving the one, and con- 
suming the other. Learn hence, 1. That 
the church is Christ's floor. 2. That tins 
floor Christ will purge, and that thoroughly. 
3. That the word of Christ is the fan m his 
hand, by and with which lie will thoroughly 
purge his floor. The church is compared 
to a floor, upon account of that mbcture 
which is in the chm-ch ; in a floor there is 
straw as well as grain, chafl'as well as corn, 
tares as well as wheat, cockle and darnel as 
well as good seed. Thus in fne church 
there is and will be a mixture of good and 
bad, saints and sinners, hypocrites and sin- 
cere christians. But this floor Christ will 
purge; purge it but not break it up ; purge 
out its corruptions, but destroy net its es- 
sence and existence : and the fan with which 
he will purge his floor is his word, ac- 
companied with the wind of discipline. 
The fan detects and discovers the chaft; and 
the wind dissipates and scatters it ; and by 
the help of both, the floor is purged. His 
fern is in his hand, Sfc. 

13 Then cometh Jesus from Ga- 
lilee to Jordan unto John, to be bap- 
tized of him. 

Here we have our Saviour's solemn in- 
auguration and public entrance upon his 
prophetic oflice, by baptism, or wasliing 
with water, according to flie manner of the 
priests under the ceremonial law, Eiocl. 
xxix. 4. Where we have obsen^able, 1. 
The circumstance of time ; Then coineth 
Jesus ; that is, after he had lain hid in 
Nazareth thirty years, he comes abroad, 
and enters upon his public ministr>\ 
Teaching us by his example, that when 
we are ripe and fit for public service, we 
should no less willingly leave our obscurity, 
than we took the benefit of it for our pre- 
paration. Observe, 2. The action itself ; 
Christ is baptized now, as he was circum- 
cised before ; not because there was any 
impurity in him, either filth or foreskin, 
which wanted either the circumcising knife, 
or the baptismal water ; yet purity itself 
condescends to be washed, Christ to be 
baptized; for these reasons: 1. That by 
this symbol he might enter himself into 



the society of christians, as by circiinicision 
he had done into the society of Jews ; as 
a king condescends sometimes to be made 
a freeman of a city or corporation. 2. 
That he might by Ins own baptism sanc- 
tify the ordinance of baptism unto his 
church. 3. That thereby he might fulfil 
the righteousness of the ceremonial law, 
which required the washing of the priests 
in water, when they entered upon their 
oflfice, as appears from Exod. xxbc. 4. 
Observe, 4. The great condescension of 
Christ, in seeking and submitting to the 
baptism of John : Christ cometh to John, 
not John to Christ. Behold ! the Lord 
seeking to his servant; Christ will be 
baptized of his messenger ! our Saviour's 
design hereby no doubt was, to put ho- 
nour upon the ministry of John. O how 
dare the greatest upon earth despise the 
ministry of man, being appointed by God, 
which Christ honoured in his own person, 
and graced with his own presence ? 

14 But John forbad him, saying, 
I have need to be baptized of thee, 
and comest thou to me ? 

Note here, L The modesty of John's 
refusal : John forbade him, and refused to 
admit him: but why? L In regard of 
Christ, because he knew he needed it not : 
such was his majesty and greatness, that 
he was above it ; and such was his purity 
and holiness, that he could not want it ; 
2. In respect of himself, he knew his own 
uncleanness: I have need to he baptized 
of thee, Sfc. He thought it unsuitable 
that a sinner should baptize and wash him 
that was no sinner. 3. With respect to 
the people ; lest they seeing Christ baptized, 
should apprehend him to be a sinner, and 
one that wanted the baptism of repentance 
as well as themselves. Observe, 2. As the 
modesty of John's refusal, so the reason he 
assigns "for it; I have need to be baptized 
of thee : As if hs had said, " Thou art 
purity, I am pollution ; thou art spirit, I 
am fiesh ; thou art the Son of God, I am 
the son of Adam :" such an humble appre- 
hension has tViis holy man of himself. 
Learn, That the more holy a person is, the 
more sensible he is of Ms unholiness; 
where there is most grace, there is the 
greatest sen^e of the want of grace. 

15 And Jesus answering said unto 
him, Suffer it to be so now : for thus 
it becometh us to fulfil all righteous- 
ness. Then he suffered him. 

These words contain our Saviour's reason, 



12 



ST. MATTHEW. 



why he submitted to John's baptism, be- 
cause it became him to fulfil all righteous- 
ness ; that is, to own every divine institu- 
tion, particularly the righteousness of the 
ceremonial law, which required the wash- 
ing of the priests in water, when they 
entered upon their office, Exod. xxix. 4. 
Learn hence, 1. That whatever the law 
required in order to perfect righteousness, 
that Christ fulfilled in most absolute perfec- 
tion. 2. That as it became Christ to fulfil 
the righteousness of the ceremonial law for 
himself, so it is our duty and interest to 
fulfil the righteousness of the moral law for 
ourselves, as ah evidence of our being right- 
eous in God's sight, 1 John iii. 7. He 
that doetli righteousness is righteous, even 
as he is righteous. 

16 And Jesus, when he was baptiz- 
ed, went up straightway out of the 
water: and, lo, the heavens were 
opened unto him, and he saw the 
Spirit of God descending like a dove, 
and lighting upon him : 17 And, lo,' 
a voice from heaven, saying, This is 
my beloved Son, in whom I am well 
pleased. 

Here we have the solemn inauguration 
of Christ into his prophetic office, accom- 
panied with a tlu-eefold miracle. 1. The 
opening of the heavens. 2. The descent 
of the Holy Ghost upon him like as a dove 
descends. 3. God the Father's voice con- 
cerning the Son. The heavens were 
opened, to show that heaven, which was 
closed and shut against us for our sins, is 
now opened to us, by Christ's undertaking 
for us. As the first Adam shuts us out of 
heaven, the second Adam lets us into it ; 
he opened heaven to us by his merito- 
rious passion, and he keeps it open by 
his prevailing intercession. Next, the Ho- 
ly Ghost descends like a dove upon our- 
Saviour : here we have an evidence of the 
blessed Trinity ; the Father speaks from 
heaven, the Son comes out of the water, 
and the Holy Ghost appears upon him. 
Hence we gather. That the Holy Ghost is 
not a quality or an operation, but a per- 
son, and a person really distinct from the 
Father and the Son. But why did the 
Holy Spirit now descend upon Christ, 
seeing he was now truly and really God ? 
A71SW. The divinity of Christ was quiescent 
in him, till he entered upon his prophetic 
office at thirty years old, and after. And 
fhe Holy Ghost now descends, first, For 



Chap. IV. 



the designation of his person, to show that 
Christ was the person set apart for the 
work and office of a mediator. Second- 
ly, For the qualification of his person for 
the performance of his office. This was 
Christ's unction, Isa. Ixi. 1. when he was 
anointed above his fellows, to be the king, 
priest, and prophet of his chiu-ch. Last 
of all. We have the audible voice of God 
the Father pronouncing, 1. The nearness 
of Christ's relation to himself. This is my 
Son, not by adoption, but by eternal 
generation. 2. The endearedness of his 
person. This is my beloved Son. 3. The 
fruit and benefit of this near and dear rela- 
tion unto us. In him I am toell pleased. 
Note, 1. That there is no possibility for any 
person to please God out of Christ ; both 
our persons and oiu: performances find 
acceptance only for his sake. 2. That in 
and through Christ, God is well pleased 
with all believers : This is my beloved Son, 
zn whom I am well pleased, Sfc. Lord .' 
what reviving news is this to thy church, to 
hear that her head' and husband, her surety, 
mediator, and intercessor, is that only Sori 
of God in whom his soul is delighted and 
ever well pleased ! that Son who always 
pleased thee, and by and through whom 
thou art well pleased with, and reconciled 
to, thy offendmg creatures ! 
CHAP. IV. 

The former part of this chapter acquaints us with 
our blessed Saviour's combat with, and conquest 
over, Satan ; and the first verse informs us of the 
fouAit """* ''''""' '''''"'' "'^ combat was 

'pHEN was Jesus led up of the Spi- 
rit into the wilderness, to be 
tempted of the devil. 

Observe, L The great humiliation of the 
Son of God, how exceedingly was he hum- 
bled by the horrid temptations wherewith he 
was.assaulted, than which nothing could be 
more grievous to his holy heart. What 
could be more burdensome to him that was 
brought up from eternity with God the Fa- 
ther, than to be shut up in a wilderness with 
the devil, there to be baited by him so many 
days, having his ears filled, though not de- 
filed, with horrid blasphemies spit upon 
the holy and reverend name of God ! O 
deep abasement and wonderful humiliation 
of the Son of God ! Observe, 2. The time 
when Christ entered the lists with Satan, 
implied in the word then ! that is, first! 
immediately after his baptism ; he is no 
sooner out of the water of baptism, but he 
IS m the fire of temptation : secondly, im- 



Chap. IV. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



13 



mediately after the Spirit descended upon, 
and the Father had by a voice from heaven 
manifested his complacency and satisfaction 
in \m\ : Tins is my beloved Son, <$-c. 
Note thence, That great manifestations of 
love from God are usually followed with 
great temptations from Satan. Observe, 3. 
The place where this combat was fought, 
andthatis, in the •wilderness. Learn thence, 
That no place can privilege us from tempta- 
tion, or be a sanctuary from Satan's assatdts : 
the sohtary wilderness has a tempter in it, 
yea, Satan sometunes makes use of men's 
solitariness to farther his temptations : a cell, 
a nunnery, or a cloister, are as open to 
Satan as the open fields ; and the persons 
that live in them have a tempter without, 
and an enticer within, as well as other men. 
Observe, 4. The efficient cause of Christ's 
going into the wilderness to be tempted by 
Satan : He was led up of the Spirit, says 
St Matthew : The Spirit drove him, says 
St. Mark -. that is, the Holy Spirit of God, 
not Satan the unclean spirit, for the devil 
is seldom if ever called the spirit, but 
usually some brand of reproach is annexed, 
as the evil spirit, or the unclean spirit. 
Christ was led by the Spirit ; that is, he was 
carried by a strong impulse of the Spirit of 
God into the wilderness to be tempted by 
Satan. Learn hence, 1. That none of the 
children of God ought to expect a, freedom 
from temptation •, seeing Christ himself, in 
the days of his flesh, was strongly solicited 
by Satan unto sin. 2. That all the tempta- 
tions wherewith the children of God are 
assaulted, are ordered by a divine and 
special dispensation. Satan could not assault 
our Savioiu' till he was led by the Spirit into 
the wilderness for that end ; and he shall 
not assault any of his members, but by 
divine permission. 

2 And when he had fasted forty 
days and forty nights, he was after- 
ward an hungi'ed. 

Observe here. How the divine power up- 
held the himian nature of Christ without 
food. What Moses did at the giving of the 
law, Christ doth at the beginning of the gos- 
pel, namely, fast forty days and forty nights. 
Christ hereby intended our admiration, not 
our imitation ; or, if our imitation, of the ac- 
tion only, not of the time. Clnrist teaches 
us by fasting and prayer to prepare our- 
selves for a conflict with our spiritual ene- 
mies ; as he prepared himself by fasting to 
grapple with the tempter, so should we. 

3 And when the tempter came to 



him, he said. If thou be the Son of 
God, command that these stones be 
made bread. 

Observe here, 1. The occasion of the 
temptation. 2. The temptation itself. The 
occasion was our Saviour's hunger and want 
of bread. Learn thence. That when God 
sutlers any of his dear children to fall into 
want,and to be straitened for outward things, 
Satan takes a mighty advantage thereupon 
to tempt and assault them. But what doth 
he tempt our Saviour to ? to the sin of distmst, 
to question his Sonship, If thou he the Son 
of God; and next to distrust his Father's 
providence and care, Coimnand that these 
stones be made bread. As if Satan had said, 
" How unlikely is it that thou shouldest be 
highly favoured, and yet deserted. What ! 
the Son of God, and yet ready to starve ! 
Certainly if thou canst not supply thy ne- 
cessities, thovi art nothing akin to God." 
Learn hence, 1 . That Satan's grand design 
is, first to tempt the children of God to doubt 
of their adoption j and next,to distrust God's 
fatherly care over them, and provision for 
them ; and last of all, to use unwarrantable 
means to help themselves. Thus Satan 
de^t with Christ, and thus he deals with 
christians : for to work a miracle at Satan's 
direction was not a lawful mean of providing 
food for himself. 

4 But he answered and said, It is 
written, Man shall not live by bread 
alone, but by every word that pro- 
ceedeth out of the mouth of God. 

Observe here. The weapons which our 
Saviour made vise of to repel the tempta- 
tion, and to vanquish the tempter; and 
that is, the word of God : It is written. 
Leam, That the scripture, or the written 
word of God, is the only sure weapon 
wherewith to vanquish Satan, and to beat 
back all his fiery temptations. Satan him- 
self has not the impudence to oppose scrip- 
ture. What monsters of impiety then are 
they, who ridicule and deride it ? They 
not only run counter to the practice of Christ, 
but outdo the devil himself m impudence. 

5 Then the devil taketh him up 
into the holy city, and setteth him on 
a pinnacle of the temple. 

That is, Satan, by God's permission, took 
up his body and carried it in the air, and 
set it upon one of the battlements of the tem- 
ple. Leam hence, 1. What a mighty 
power evil spirits have over our bodies, if 
God permits them to execute and exercise 



14 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. IV. 



their power upon them. 2. That it is 
owing to the gracious care and watchful 
providence of God over us, that we are 
not hurried away bodily by Satan. Thanks 
be to God, though the devil's malice be in- 
finite, yet his power is limited and bounded; 
and as he cannot do all the miscliief he 
would to the bodies and souls of men, so he 
shall not do all he can. 2,uest. But why 
is the holy city, and holy temple, chosen 
by Satan to be the scene of this temptation ? 
Answ. I cannot tell, unless he apprehended 
(as he might) that the holiness ot the place 
would aggravate the sin. No place so sa- 
cred, no duty so holy, as to protect us from 
Satan's assaults. This enemy pursues us 
even to the horns of the altar. Lord ! how 
ought we at all times and in all place to be 
upon our watch and guard, especially in 
thy presence, because then and there Satan 
is most active and busy, and most desirous 
to draw us into sin. 

6 And saith unto him, If thou be 
the Son of God, cast thyself down : 
for it is written. He shall give his 
angels charge concerning thee : and 
in their hands they shall bear thee up, 
lest at any time thou dash thy foot 
against a stone. 

Here we have observable, first. The sin 
which Satan tempts Christ unto : and next. 
The argument which he tempts him from : 
the sin tempted to, is the sin of self-murder : 
Cast thyself dawn. Whence we learn. 
That self-murder is a sin which Clirist him- 
self was, and the best of saints may, by Satan, 
be tempted to the commission of. But 
forasmuch as Satan tempted Christ to mur- 
der liimself, but had not power to do it liim- 
self, (do thou cast thyself down,) we learn. 
That though Satan may tempt, yet he can- 
not compel ; he may entice, but cannot en- 
force any to sin, without their own consent. 
Observe, 2. The argument which Satan 
uses, it is a scripture argument ; he quotes 
the promise of God, He shall give his an- 
gels charge over thee. What a marv^el is 
here, to find Satan with a Bible under his 
arm, and a text of scripture in his mouth .' 
Christ had alleged scripture before to Satan ; 
here Satan retorts scripture back again to 
Clu-ist: It is written, says Christ; It is 
■written, says Satan. Learn thence. That 
it is no wonder to hear heretics and hypo- 
crites quote scripture, when Satan himself 
durst recite it ; he that had profanely touched 
the sacred body of Christ with his hand, 



sticks not presumptuously to handle the 
holy scriptures of God with his tongue. 
Yet observe. How wretchedly the devil 
wrests, perverts, and misapplies, tlie scrip- 
ture. When God promises his angels shall 
keep us, it is in viis, nan in prmcip/tiis ; 
'tis in all God's ways, not in any of our own 
crooked paths. Note here, That although 
the children of God have the promise of the 
guardianship of holy angels, yet then only 
may they expect their protection, when they 
are walking in the way of their duty, and 
using the means for their own preservation. 

7 Jesus said unto him. It is writ 
ten again, Thou shalt not tempt the 
Lord thy God. 

Observe here. Though the devil had 
wrested and abused scripture, yet still Christ 
alleges scripture. The abuse of the holy 
scriptures by heretics and seducers is no ar- * 
giunent against the use of them. We must 
not throw away our Bibles because the 
devil quotes scripture : but as Christ here 
compares scripture with scripture, so 
should we, in order to find out the true 
sense and meaning of it ; for scripture is 
the best interpreter of itself; scripture is 
most clearly expounded by scripture. 
This Satan knew full well, and therefore 
dares not make any further reply. 

8 Again, the devil taketh him up 
into an exceeding high mountain, and 
sheweth him all the kingdoms of the 
world, and the glory of them; 9 And 
saith unto him. All these things will 
I give thee, if thou willt fall down and 
worship me. 

The next sin, which Satan tempts our 
Saviour to, is the sin of idolatry, even to 
worship the devil himself. O thou impu- 
dent and foul spirit ! To desire thy Creator 
to adore thee, an apostate creature ; Surely 
there can be no sin so black and foul, so 
gross and monstrous, but that the christian 
may be tempted to it, when Christ liimseU" 
was tempted to worship the tempter. St. 
Matthew reads the words, If thou wilt fall 
down and worship me : St.' Luke, If thou 
wilt xc or ship before me. Whence we may 
gather, says Dr Lightfoot, That if to wor- 
sliip before the devil be to worship the 
devil, then to worship before an image is 
to worship the image. Obs. 2. The bait 
which Satan makes use of to allure our 
Saviour to the sin of idolatry ; and that 
^vas, in representing to his eye and view all 
the glories of the world in the most inviting 



Chap. IV. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



15 



manner, and that in a moment of time ; 
to the intent it might attect him the more, 
and prevail the sooner. Leam thence, 
That the pomp and greatness, the glor/ 
and grandem-, of tliis world, is made use 
of by Satan, as a dangerous snare to draw 
men to a compliance ^^'ith him, in liis 
temptations mito sin. When Satan sets 
thee upon a pinnacle, look to thyself. 

10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get 
thee hence, Satan : for it is written, 
Thou shalt worship the Lord thy 
God, and him only shalt thou serve. 
Observe here, 1. With what zeal and 
indignation of spirit our blessed Saviour 
repels and beats back this temptation of 
Satan: Get thee hence. Note thence. That 
the greater the sins are wliich the devil 
tempts us to, the greater oiu- zeal and in- 
dignation ought to be in opposing and re- 
sisting the temptation to them. A great 
temptation must be withstood with great 
resolution. Obs. 2. The weapon with 
which he repels and beats back the fiery 
dart of Satan's temptation, and that is, with 
the shield of scripture : It 'is written, thou 
shalt worship the Lord thi/ God, Learn 
thence. That God is the sole object of re- 
ligious worship : it is so peculiarly the 
Creator's due, that to give it to any crea- 
ture is gross idolatry, and repugnant to the 
scriptures. No creature is to pay divine 
adoration to any but his Creator ; hence it 
appears that Christ is not a creature, divine 
worship being given to him. 

11 Then the devil leaveth him, 
and, behold, angels came and minis- 
tered unto him. 

Observe here, 1. The issue of this 
combat ; Satan is conquered, and quits 
the field ! Then the devil leaveth him . 
teacliing us, That nothing like a vigorous 
resistance of temptation causes the tempter 
to flee from us ; Resist the devil, and he 
will Jlee from you. Obs. 2. Our Lord's 
triumph over his enemy : Behold, angels 
came and ministered unto hi?)i ; food to 
his hungry body, and comfort to his tempt- 
ed soul. They came no sooner, lest it 
should be thought he needed their assist- 
ance ; they came now, because he was 
now pleased to make use of their assistance. 
Learn hence,That those who in the hour of 
temptation do hold out in resisting Satan, 
shall find the power and faithfulness of God 
will not be wanting to them, to send in 
succour and relief in the end. 



12 Now when Jesus had heard 
that John was cast into prison, he 
departed into Galilee: 13 And leav- 
ing Nazareth, he came and dwelt in 
Capernaum, which is upon the sea- 
coast, in the borders of Zabulon ajid 
Nephthalim : 14 That it might be 
fuliilled which was spoken by Esaias 
the prophet, saying, 15 The land 
of Zabulon, and the land of Neph- 
thalim, by the way of the sea, beyond 
Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles ; 16 
The people which sat in darkness 
saw great light : and to them which 
satin the region and shadow of death 
light is sprung up. 

Observe here, 1. Our Saviour, hearing 
of John's imprisonment, provides for his 
own safety, by departing into Galilee. 
As our holy Lord avoided persecution, so 
may we. Observe, 2. Tiie place in Galilee 
he comes to, Capernaum. Christ had 
three cities which he called his own; 
Nazareth, where he was bred ; Bethlehem, 
where he was bom ; and Capernaum, 
where he dwelt : this was a sea-coast town 
in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthali. 
Observe, 3. The special providence of God 
in this change of om- Saviour's habitation ; 
for by that means the prophecy, Isa. ix. 1. 
was hilfilled, which declares, that in that 
dark part of the country, the Messiah, the 
true light, should shine forth. Learn 
hence, 1. That a people destitute of the 
saving knowledge of the gospel are in 
great darkness, how great soever the light 
of their outward comforts may be. This 
people had natural light enough, and civil 
light enough ; they had an abundance of 
wealth and riches, peace and plenty ; but 
they wanted the light of Christ and his 
gospel, and therefore are said to sit in 
darkness. 2. That wherever the gospel is 
preached amongst a people, it is a light 
springing up and shining forth among 
them ; quickening and enlivening, re- 
viving and cheering, the souls of those 
who entertain it, how great soever their 
outward darkness and distress may be. 
The people that sat in darkness saw great 
light, and to them that sat in the region 
and shadow of death, light' is sprung 
up, SfC. 

17 From that time Jesus began 
to preach, and to say. Repent: fov 
the kinffdom of heaven is at hand. 



10 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. VI. 



Here our Saviour begins to enter upon 
nis prophetic office, and by preaching to 
make known the will of God to mankind 5 
and observe, the doctrine wliich he preach- 
ed is the same that John the Baptist did 
preach, namely, the doctrine of repentance. 
Repent ye : and the aigmnent is the same 
aho, for the Jcingdum of heaven h at hand: 
that is, now is the so much expected time 
of the appearing of the promised Messiah. 
Learn hence. That the doctrine of Christ 
and his ainbassadors is alike, and the 
same in substance : they both teach the 
doctrine of repentance to a lost world, as 
most suitable to the time and dispensation 
of the gospel. 

18 And Jesus, walking by the 
sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, 
Simon called Peter, and Andrew his 
brother, castino; a net into the sea : 
for they were fishers. 19 And he 
saith unto them, Folio a' me, and I 
will make you fishers of men. 20 
And they straightway left their nets, 
and followed him. 21 And going 
on from thence, he saw other two 
brethren, James the son of Zebedee, 
and John his brother, in a ship with 
Zebedee their father, mending their 
nets : and he called them. 22 And 
they immediately left the ship and 
their father, and followed him. 

Oiu- blessed Saviour, as he was the great 
prophet of his church, had power and 
authority to appoint teachers vmder liim ; 
and accordingly here he begins to call his 
apostles to that great work ; and in his call 
we have several particulars very observ- 
able : as, 1 . The meanness of the persons 
whom he calls, illiterate fishermen ; not a 
Paul, that had long studied at the feet of 
Gamaliel, is first called ; but Peter, who 
was a stranger to eloquence and hiunan 
learning. Hereby our Saviour took ef- 
fectual care that his gospel should be 
known to be the power of God, and not 
the wisdom and device of man ; and that 
the instrument should not carry away the 
glory of the work. Observe, 2. How our 
Saviour calls his apostles by couples, t^vo 
and two, Peter and Andrew, James and 
John ; to let us understand, that the work 
of the ministry requires the ooncurrence of 
all hands that are called to it ; all the minis- 
ters of God should put their hands, join 
tljeir hearts, and set their shoulders, as one 



man, to tliis great work; and all little 
enough to carry it on with advantage and 
success. Observe, 3. The work which 
they were called to, from being fishermen 
to being fishers of men. They catched 
fish before with the labour of their hands ; 
they shall catch men now with the labom- 
of their tongues. Observe, 4. Om Sa- 
viour's command ; first to follow him, 
before they are sent out by him : Follow 
me, and I will make you fishers of men. 
We must be Christ's disciples before we 
a-ie his ministers ; his followers before his 
ambassadors. We must learn Christ before 
we preach him ; otherwise we may fish for 
a livelihood, for honour and applause, but 
not for souls : if we be not first inclosed 
ourselves in the net of the gospel, we can 
have but small hopes of bringing in 
others. Observe, 5. The promise which 
Christ gives the apostles for their en- 
couragement: 1. To qualify them, I will 
make you fishers. 2. To succeed them, 
J will make you fishers of men. Faith- 
fulness and care, diligence and endea- 
vour, is our part . but the blessing and 
success is Christ's. '• Our labour is only 
in the cast, Christ's power is wholly in 
the draught. Some fish cleave to the 
rocks, others play upon the sands, and 
more wallow in the mud ; and we shall 
labour all our days and catch nothmg, if 
Christ doth not bring our fish to the net, 
and inclose them in it, as well as assist us in 
the tlirowing of it." — Bp. Hall. Observe, 
6. The apostles' ready compliance with 
our Saviour's call, Straightwaij they follow- 
ed him. Whom Christ calls,' he calls per- 
suasively and effectually ; Mhom he calls, 
he draws, and works them to a wiliiing 
compliance with their duty. Lastly observe. 
Upon their call to the ministry they leave 
off their trade, they forsake their shjp and 
their nets, and lie close to their ministerial 
-employment. Teaching us, that the mi- 
nisters of the gospel should wholly give 
themselves to their work, and not encumber 
themselves with secular affairs : nothing 
but an indispensable necessity in providino- 
for a family can excuse a minister's en- 
tangling himself with worldly business. 

23 And Jesus went about all 
Galilee, teaching in their syna- 
gogues, and preaching the gospel of 
the kingdom, and healing all manner 
of sickness and all manner of dis- 
ease among the people. 

Our Savioiu- having called Peter, James, 



Chap. IV. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



17 



Andrew, and John, to be disciples in or- 
der to their being apostles to preach the 
gospel, in the foregoing verses ; this verse 
acquaints us how he went himself along 
with them in the work : he did not send 
them forth as his curates to labour, and lie 
at home himself upon his couch at ease. 
What shall we say to those lazy fishermen 
who can set others to the drag, and care 
only to feed themselves with the fish, not 
willing to wet their hands with the net? 
Our blessed Saviour, when he sect forth 
his apostles, Avent along with them, and 
laboured himself as much as any of them. 

24 And his fame went throughout 
all Syria : and they brought unto him 
all sick people that were taken with 
divers diseases and torments, and 
those which were possessed with 
devils, and those which were lunatic, 
and those that had the palsy ; and 
he healed them. 

Observe here, 1. That although our 
Savioiir's doctrine needed no confirmation 
beyond his own authority, yet he was gra- 
ciously pleased to exert the power of his 
godhead in working miracles for the es- 
tablishment of oiu' faith. Observe, 2. 
That the miracles which Christ wrought 
were not judicial, but beneficial to man- 
kind, Moses' miracles were as great judg- 
ments as wonders J but Christ's miracles 
were salubrious and healing, full of good- 
ness and compassion, and very advan- 
tageous to the world : he dispossessed 
devils, healed the sick, cleansed the lepers, 
was eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame. 
O blessed Saviour ! thy life in all instances 
was a life of universal serviceableness and 
beneficialness to all mankind. 

25 And there followed him great 
multitudes of people from Galilee, 
and from Decapolis, and y)offi Jeru- 
salem, and from Judea, and from 
beyond Jordan. 

Observe here. How aff'ecting our Saviour's 
ministry was at first : multitudes throng 
after him ; they come from all parts to at- 
tend upon his ministry, when he first be- 
gan to preach among them. His mi- 
nisters find it thus also ; at their first com- 
ing amongst a people, their labours are 
most acceptable, and they do most good : 
cm- people's affections are then warmest, 
and our own zeal perhaps is then greatest. 
Happy is that minister that improves all 



opportunities and advantages for the good 
of souls : " for he that winneth souls is 



wise. 



CHAP. V. 



This chapter and the two next following contain 
Christ's famous sermon upon the mount, which 
comprehends the sura and substance botli of the 
Old and Nevy Testament. Our Saviour begins 
this his sermon with a declaration who are bless- 
ed : including an exhortation to duty, and an- 
nexes a reward to the performance of that duty. 
By this sermon the christian world will be judged 
in the last day ; and by the particulars of it we 
must either stand or fall. 

A ND seeing the multitudes, he 

went up into a mountain ; and 

when he was set, his disciples came 

unto him : 2 And he opened his 

mouth, and taught them, saying. 

Observe here, 1. The preacher ; he, 
that is, Christ, the great Prophet and 
Teacher of his church. Observe, 2. The 
place where he preached, upon a mountain ; 
probably for convenience to himself, and 
advantage to his auditors ; though some 
will have a mystery in it ; that as the law 
at first was given on a mountain, so Christ 
would now explain it upon a moimtain ; 
or to show the sublimity of his doctrine 
and precepts. Observe, 3. The posture in 
which he preached, sitting : When he was 
set, he taught, according to the custom 
of the Jewish doctors who sat, to show 
their authority. Observe, 4. The sermon 
itself, which begins with beatitudes and 
blessings, and is accompanied with promises 
of reward. Not as the law was delivered 
on Moimt Sinai, with threatenings and 
thunder, with fire and earthquake, but in 
a still and soft voice. Our Lord's lips are 
full of grace, they drop as the honey-comb. 
Blessings and promises are our encourage- 
ments to obedience. 

3 Blessed are the poor in spirit : 
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 

Observe here, 1. It is not said, blessed 
are the poor in estate, but blessed are the 
poor in spirit : 'tis not a poverty of purse 
and possession, but a poverty of spirit, 
that entitles us to the blessing. 2. 'Tis 
not said, blessed ore the spiritually poor, 
but, blessed are the poor inspirit: he that 
is destitute of the grace and spirit of Christ, 
that has no sense of his spiritual wants, he 
is spiritually poor, but he is not poor in 
spirit. Farther, 3. 'Tis not said, blessed 
are the poor-spirited, but, the poor in 
spirit. Such as act below and beneath 
themselves as men and as christains, these 
are poor-spirited men ; but these are not 
c 



18 



ST. MATTHEW 



Chap. V. 



poor in spirit. 4 'Tis not said, blessed are 
they that make themselves poor, by leaving 
their estates and callings, and turning beg- 
gars, as some do among the Papists ; but, 
blessed are they whom tlie gospel makes 
poor, by giving them a sight of their spi- 
ritual wants and necessities, and directing 
them to Christ, that they may be made rich. 
In sum, not those that are poor in estate, or 
those whom the world has made poor in 
possession, but those whom the gospel has 
made poor in spirit, that is, the truly hum- 
ble, lowly spirits, have a right and title to 
the kingdom of heaven. Now humility is 
called poverty of spirit, because it is the ef- 
fect and fruit of God's Spirit. 

4 Blessed are they that mourn : 
for they shall be comforted. 

Observe here, 1. That mourning for sin 
is a gospel-duty : the law allows no place 
for repentance, though we seek it careful- 
ly with tears. Observe, 2. The time and 
season for this duty. Blessed are they tlrnt 
now mourn. Sorrow for sin is physic on 
earth, but 'tis food in hell. Repentance is 
here a grace, but there a punisliment. 3. 
As mourning goes before comfort, so com- 
fort shall follow after mourning. Our god- 
ly sorrow for our own and others' sins, 
shall end in everlasting joy and comfort. 

5 Blessed are the meek : for they 
shall inherit the earth. 

Observe here, 1. The grace and duty re- 
commended, jncekness. 2. The wages 
and reward belonging to that grace and 
duty, the inheritance of the earth. Meek- 
ness either respects God, or our neighbour. 
As it respects God, so it implies tlexibleness 
to his commanding will, and submis- 
siveness to his providential pleasiu'e. As it 
respects our neighbour, it consists in for- 
giving injuries, bearing reproaches, and re- 
compensing good for evil. The reward 
and blessing ensmed to this grace and duty 
is, the inheritance of the earth, where hea- 
ven is not excluded, but included ; yet the 
earth is mentioned, to show that men should 
be no losers by their meekness, as to their 
outward estates ; for Almighty God will 
make good to them whatever they lose for 
peace sake. O happy temper of mind, that 
at once secures heaven and earth to boot ! 
Blessedarethe meek: forthei/ shall inherit 
the earth in this life, and heaven in the 
next. 

6 Blessed are they which do hun- 



ger and thirst after righteousness : 
for they shall be filled. 

Observe, 1. The character of the persons 
whom Christ pronounces blessed ; such as 
h'wns,er and thirst after righteousness. 2. 
Wherein their blessedness doth consist: 
They shall be filled. By righteousness we 
are to understand, 1. A righteousness 
of justification ; the righteousness of the 
RIediator imputed to us, by which we 
stand righteous in God's sight, being 
freed from condemnation. 2. A right- 
eousness ofsanctification, wrought in us by 
the Holy Spirit, enabling us to act right- 
eously. By the fonner, there is a relative 
change in om- condition ; by the latter, a 
real change in our constitution. 1. Learn, 
That all and only such as do spiritually 
hunger and thirst after Christ and his right- 
eousness, are in a happy and blessed con- 
dition. 2. That to hunger and thust after 
holiness is to apprehend the worth of it, to 
be sensible of the want of it, to be desirous 
of it, and restless in endeavours after it, as 
men usually do that are pinched with 
hunger. Dr. Hammond's Prac. Catech. 

7 Blessed are the merciful : for 
they shall obtain mercy. 

Here our blessed Redeemer recommends 
to us a compassionate regard towards the 
miseries of others, and that both in soul 
and body, name and estate ; to be forward 
to pity and pardon, to relieve and help, to 
give and forgive. And as an encou- 
ragement, he adds, that as we deal with 
others, God v/ill deal with us ; our charity 
towards men shall be crowned with mercy 
from God, and that in abundance too ; for 
our rivulet of charity we shall partake of an 
ocean of mercy : Blessed are the 7nereiful, 
for they shall obtain mercy. Learn, That 
the merciful man is a blessed man, and 
therefore blessed because he shall obtain 
mercy, when he most wants it, and most 
desires it. Mercy, not wages. 

8 Blessed are the pure in heart : 
for they shall see God. 

Note here, 1. The duty required and 
called for, purity of heart and life ; the 
first expressed, the other included ; for a 
clean heart will be accompanied with a 
clean life. Where there is a principle of 
grace within, there will be the acting of 
grace without. Note, 2. The incentive to 
this duty ; thepure in heart, and holy in life, 
shall see and c7ijoy God ; the infinitely 



Chap. V. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



19 



pure and perfectly holy God. They shall 
see him spir-itually and mediately in this life, 
gloriously and immediately in the life to 
come. 

9 Blessed are the peace-makers : 
for they shall be called the children 
of God. 

Observe, 1. The connection between 
peace and purity : purity of heart and 
peaceableness of life accompany one 
another. There is no inward purity where 
there is not an endeavour after outward 
peace. 2. The duty exhorted to, namely, 
to love peace, and to labour after peace ; 
to love it ourselves, and promote it amongst 
others ; to be not only peaceable, but 
peace-makers. Note, 4. The title of honour 
that is here put upon such as are of this 
peaceable and peace-making temper : they 
shall be called the children of God ; that 
is, they shall be reputed and esteemed God's 
children, for their likeness to him who is 
the God of peace. And they shall be 
dignified and honoured with the privileges 
of God's children ; namely, grace here, 
and glory hereafter. 

10 Blessed are they which are 
persecuted for righteousness' sake : 
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 
11 Blessed are ye, \vhe« men shall 
revile you, and persecute you, and 
shall say all manner of evil against 
you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, 
and be exceeding glad : for great is 
your reward in heaven : for so per- 
secuted they the prophets which were 
before you. 

• Note here, 1. That all the disciples and 
followers of Christ, live they never so holily 
and inoffensively in the world, yet must 
they expect suffering and persecution. 2. 
That the keenest and sharpest edge of 
persecution is usually turned against the 
ministers of Christ, and falls heaviest on 
the prophets of God. 3. That such suf- 
ferings and persecutions as will afford a 
man solid comfort, and entitle him to real 
blessedness, must be endured and undergone 
for righteousness' sake. 4. That it is the 
will and command of Christ, that those 
which suffer for him, and for righteousness' 
sake, should not only be meek and patient, 
but joyous and cheerful ; Rejoice, and be 
exceeding glad. 5. That such a patient 
and cheerful suffering of persecution for 
Christ in this life, shall certainly be 
rewarded with the glory and blessedness of 



the life that is to como. Great is your 
reward, S^c. 

13 Ye are the salt of the earth : 
but if the salt have lost its savour, 
wherewith shall it be salted ? it is 
henceforth good for nothing, but to 
be cast out, and to be trodden under 
foot of men. 

Our Saviour compares christians in 
general, and his ministers in particular, 
unto salt, for a double reason, First, Because 
it is the nature of salt to preserve things 
from corruption and putrefaction, and to 
render them savoury and pleasant. Thus 
are the niinisters of the gospel to labour and 
endeavour, by the purity of their doctrine, 
to sweeten putrefying sinners, that they 
may become savovu'y unto God and man j 
and may be kept from being fly-blown 
with errors and false doctrine. Secondly, 
Because salt has a piercing power in it, 
which subdues the whole lump, and turns 
it into its own nature : such a piercing 
power is there in the ministry of the word, 
that it subdues the whole man to the obedi- 
ence of itself. As if Christ had said, " Ye 
are to be preachers and patterns to the 
world ; ye are appointed by yoiu- pure doc- 
trine, and good conversation, to pvu"ge the 
world from that corruption in which it lies ; 
but if you lose either soimdness of doctrine, 
or the savour of a good conversation, you 
will be wholly useless, as to these great ends, 
and must expect to be cast off by me, as 
unsavoury salt is cast to the dunghill." 

14 Ye are the light of the world. 
A city that is set on a hill cannot be 
hid. 15 Neither do men light a can- 
dle, and put it under a bushel, but 
on a candlestick ; and it giveth light 
unto all that are in the house. 16 
Let your light so shine before men, 
that they may see your good works, 
and glorify your Father which is in 
heaven. 

Observe here,. 1. Our Saviour's doctrine. 
2. The inference which he draws from it, 
by way of application. The doctrine 
delivered is this. That christians in general, 
and the ministers of the gospel in particu- 
lar, are the light of the world. But how ? 
Not originally, but derivatively ; not effi- 
ciently, but instnimentally. Christ himself 
is the light of the -worldhy way of original j 
his ministers are lights by vnay of derivation 
and participation from him. Farther, 
c2 



20 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. V. 



Christ teaches them the end why he 
communicated hght imto them, namely, to 
enUghten, direct, and quicken others ; even 
as the sun in the firmament, and a candle 
in the house, diffuses and disperses its light 
to all that are within the reach of it ; so 
should all christians, and particularly 
Clirist's ministers, by the light of life and 
doctrine, direct people in their way towards 
heaven. Observe, 2. The inference which 
our Saviour draws from the foregoing doc- 
trine, j/e are the light of the world; there- 
fore let your light so shine before men. 
Where note, 1. Ihsi onx good works mast 
shine, but not blaze; all vain-glory and 
ostentation must be avoided in the good 
works we do. 2. Although we must 
abound in good works, that men may see 
them, yet not to be seen of men. 3. That 
the glorifying of God, and doing good to 
mankind, must be the great end we 
propound in all the good works which we 
perform. 

17 Think not that I am come to 
destroy the law or the prophets : I 
am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 

Our Saviour here informs his followers. 
That he had no design to abrogate any 
part of the moral law, or to loose mankind 
from the least measure of their duty, either 
towards God or man, but that he came to 
fuljil it. 1. By yielding a personal obe- 
dience to it. 2. By giving a fuller and 
stricter interpretation of it, than the Pha- 
risees were wont to give ; for they taught 
that the law did only reach the outward 
man, and restrain outward actions. As if 
Christ had said, " Though I preach a more 
special doctrine than is contained even in 
the letter of the moral law, yet think not 
that I came to destroy or dissolve the obliga- 
tion of that law, for I came to fulfil the 
types and predictions of the prophets, and 
to give you the full sense and spiritual im- 
port of the moral law." 

18 For verily I say unto you. Till 
heaven and earth pass, one jot or 
one tittle shall in no wise pass from 
the law, till all be fulfilled. 

Another reason is here given by our 
Saviour why he had no intention to abro- 
gate or abolish the law ; and that is drawn 
from the duration and perpetuity, the un- 
changeableness and immutability, of the 
law : sooner shall heaven and earth be 
abolished, than the authority and obliga- 
tion of the moral law be dis.solved. Learn, 



1. That the law of God is an eternal and 
unchangeable rule of life and manners, and 
is to stand in force as long as the world 
stands, and the frame of hedven and earth 
endures. Learn, 2. That Christianity is 
not contrary to the laws by wliich mankind 
had formerly been obliged. Christ com- 
mands nothing that the natural or moral 
law had forbidden, and forbids nothing that 
they had cominanded, but has perfected the 
law,and set it liigher than any of the most stu- 
died doctors did think themselves formerly 
obhged by it. To suppose that Christ has ad- 
ded to the moral precepts of the first table,is to 
suppose that he has added to perfection ; for 
that required the Jew to love God with all his 
heart, soul, and strength ; which is the same 
that Christ requireth of us christians here. 
Nor has Christ added to the duties of the se- 
cond table, since that requires us to love our 
neighbour as ourselves, v/hich St. Paul tells 
us, Rom. xiii. 9. is the fulfilling of the law. 

19 Whosoever therefore shall 
break one of these least command 
ments, and shall teach men so, he 
shall be called the least in the king- 
dom of heaven : but whosoever shall 
do and teach them, the same shall 
be called great in the kingdom of 
heaven. 

To evidence yet farther that the moral 
law is a perfect rule of life, our Saviour tells 
his disciples, that if any of them did, either 
by their doctrine or practice, make void 
any one of the least of God's commands, 
either by allowing themselves in the 
omission of any known duty, or in the 
commission of any known sin, they should 
never enter into the kingdom of God. 
Leara, That such a professor of Christianity 
as allows himself in the least voluntary 
transgression, either of omission or com- 
mission, and encourages others by his ex- 
ample to do the like, is certainly in a state 
of damnation. 

20 Fori say unto you. That except 
your righteousness shall exceed the 
righteousness of the scribes and Pha- 
risees, ye shall in no case enter into 
the kingdom of heaven. 

Observe here, 1. A glorious pnze or 
reward set before the christian as attainable, 
namely. The kingdom of heaven. Observe, 

2. The means required in order to our 
obtaining this prize, and laying hold of this 
reward ; we must be holy and righteous 
persons ; lieaven is the reward of righteous- 



Chap. V. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



21 



ness, a reward conferred only upon right- 
eous persons. Observe, 3. Here is the 
special' qualification of that righteousness 
expressed which will entitle us to heaven 
and salvation : it must be a righteousness 
which exceeds the rig/iteousness of the 
scribes and Pharisees, and that these three 
ways: 1. In its principle and motive; love 
to God, and obedience to his command ; 
not the applause and commendation of 
men. 2. In its aim and end. The phari- 
sees made themselves, their own credit and 
esteem, their worldly gain and interest, 
their ultimate end; and not God's glory 
their supreme aim. 3. In the manner of 
performance; the Pharisees' duty wanted 
that purity and spirituality which the law 
of God required. They had respect only 
to the outward action, without "iy regard 
to the inward intention, and tc ihat purity 
of heart which God required. 2uest. In 
what things are we to exceed the scribes and 
Pharisees? Ansxv. In sincerity, or by being 
that within which we seem to be without. 
In simplicity, or having holy ends in our 
religious actions. In hiunility, or having 
low and humble thoughts of ourselves and 
our best performances. In charity, or having 
compassion on all distressed persons. In 
universality of obedience to all com- 
mands. Learn, That holiness of heart, and 
righteousness of life, which God's law re- 
quires of us, is absolutely and indispensably 
necessary to salvation. 

21 Ye have heard that it was said 
by them of old time, Thou shalt not 
kill : and whosoever shall kill shall 
be in danger of the judgment. 22 
But I say unto you, That whosoever 
is angry with his brother without a 
cause shall be in danger of the judg- 
ment : and whosoever shall say to 
his brother, Raca, shall be in dan- 
ger of the council : but whosoever 
shall say, Thou fool, shall be in dan- 
ger of hell-fire. 

Here our blessed Saviour begins to 
expound the spiritual sense and meaning of 
the law, and to vindicate it from the cor- 
nipt glosses of the Pharisees ; where observe, 
Christ doth not deliver a new law, but 
expounds the old ; doth not enjoin new 
duties, but enforces the old ones. The 
law of God was always perfect, requiring 
the sons of men to love God with all their 
hearts, and their neighbour as themselves. 
In this exposition of the law, Christ begins 



with the sixth commandment, JViou shalt 
not kill : where he shows, that besides the 
actual taking away of life, a person may 
violate that command ; 1 . By rash anger. 
2. By disgraceful and reviling words. 
Thence learn. That every evil motion of 
our hearts consented to against our neigh- 
bour, all unjust anger towards hini, all 
terms of contempt put upon him, are for- 
bidden by the law of God, no less than the 
gross act of murder itself. Learn, 2. That 
wrath and anger without just cause hath 
its degrees ; and accordingly to the degrees 
of the sin will the degrees of punislnnent be 
proportioned in the next world. Learn, 3. 
That self-murder is here forbidden, and in 
no case lawful, man having no more power 
over his own life than over another's : 
though life be never so miserable and pain- 
ful, yet must we wait God's time for our 
dismission and release. 

23 Therefore, if thou bring thy 
gift to the altar, and there remember- 
est that thy brother hath ought 
against thee, 24 Leave there thy 
gift before the altar, and go thy way ; 
first be reconciled to thy brother, 
and then come and offer thy gift. 25 
Agree with thine adversary quickly, 
whiles thou art in the way with him ; 
lest at any time the adversary deliver 
thee to the judge, and the judge de- 
liver thee to the officer, and thou be 
cast into prison. 26 Verily I say 
unto thee, Thou shalt by no means 
come out thence, till thou hast paid 
the uttermost farthing. 

For preventing the sin of rasli anger, 
which in oiu- Saviour's account is a degree 
of murder, he exhorts all his disciples and 
followers to brotherly agreement, and to 
seek mutual reconciliation with each other. 
Af^ree ivith thine adversarij, that is, thy 
offended or offending brother ; agree with 
him, as becomes a man ; quickly, as be- 
comes a christian ; implying, that it is a 
necessary duty for every christian to seek 
reconciliation sincerely and speedily with 
such as have offended him, or have been 
offended by him. Observe, 2. The argu- 
ment or motive with which Christ enforces 
his exhortation to brotherly reconciliation, 
drawn from the peril and danger of the 
neglect ; and this is twofold : The first re- 
spects our present duties and services, when 
we wait upon God at his altar, and attend 



22 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. V. 



upon him in holy offices. None of our 
performances will find acceptance with 
God, if there be found malice and hatred, 
anger and ill-will, against our brother. 
Learn, that no sacrifice we can offer will 
be acceptable to God, so long as we our- 
selves are implacable to men. A second 
danger respects us, when we appear before 
God in judgment ; then God will be our 
Adversary, Clirist our Judge, Satan our ac- 
cuser, hell our tormentor ; If now from the 
heart we do not every one forgive our bro- 
ther his trespasses. Lord ! how heinous 
then is this sin of inveterate anger, hatred, 
and malice, in our hearts, against any per- 
son ! No gifts, though never so costly, no 
devotions, though never so specious, will 
prevail with God to pass it by, whilst we 
live : and if we die with hearts full of this ran- 
cour and bitterness, we can never expect to 
be encircled in the arms of Him who is all 
love, all mercy, all goodness and compas- 
sion : no reconcihation with God without 
an hearty good- will to all men. Nay far- 
ther, the text here speaks of a prison, which 
is the dreadful dungeon of hell, into which 
the implacable and unreconciled person 
must be cast, and lie for ever without mix- 
ture of pity : and it is not men's scoffing 
at it that will secure them against the hor- 
ror of it. 

27 Ye have heard that it was said 
by them of old time. Thou shalt not 
commit adultery : 28 But I say unto 
you, That whosoever looketh on a 
woman to lust after her, hath com- 
mitted adultery with her already in 
his heart. 

Our Saviovu- next proceeds to explain the 
seventh commandment, which forbids 
adultery ; by which the Pharisees under- 
stood only the gross act of uncleanness, 
and carnal lying with a woman. But, 
says ovir Saviour, Whosoever secretly in his 
heart desires such a thing, and casts his eyes 
upon a woman in order to such an act, en- 
tertaining only a thought of it with plea- 
sure and delight, he is an adulterer in God's 
account. Leam, That such is the purity 
and spirituality of the law of God, that it 
condemns speculative wantonness, no less 
than practical uncleanness ; and forbids 
not only the outward action, but the secret 
pui-pose and intention, and first out-goings 
of the soul after unlawful objects. 

29 And if thy right eye offend 
thee, pluck it out, and cast it from 



thee : for it is profitable for thee 
that one of thy members should 
perish, and noHhat thy whole body 
should be cast into hell. 30 And if 
thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, 
and cast it from thee : for it is pro- 
fitable for thee that one of thy mem- 
bers should perish, and not that thy 
whole body should be cast into hell. 

Our Saviour had condemned ocular 
adultery in the foregoing verse, or the adul- 
tery of the eye ; He that looketh on a wo- 
man to lust after her, hath co7nmitted 
adulter)/ with her in his heart. Whence 
note, That the eye is an inlet to sin, espe- 
cially the sin of uncleanness : lust enters the 
heart at the window of the eye. Now in 
these verses Christ prescribes a remedy for 
the cure of this eye-malady : If thine er/e 
offend thee, pluck it out : which is not to 
be understood literally, as if Christ com- 
manded any man to maim his bodily mem- 
bers ; but spiritually, to mortify the lusts 
of the flesh, and the lusts of the eye, which 
otherwise would prove a dangerous snare 
to the soul. Learn, 1. That sin may be 
avoided : it is our duty to avoid whatso- 
ever leads to it, or may be an occasion of 
it ; if we find the view of an ensnaring 
object will inflame us, we must, though 
not put out our eye, yet make a covenant 
with our eye that mc will not look upon it. 
Note, 2. That the best coiu-se we can take 
to be kept from the outward acts of sin, is 
to mortify our inward affection and love to 
sin. This is to kill it in the root ; and if 
once c-^ir inward affections be mortified, 
our bodily members may be spared and 
preserved ; for they will no longer be wea- 
pons of sin, but instruments of righteous- 
ness unto holiness. 

31 It hath been said. Whosoever 
' shall put away his wife, let him give 
her a writing of divorcement : 32 
But I say unto you, that whosoever 
shall put away his wife, saving for 
the cause of fornication, causeth her 
to commit adultery: and whosoever 
shall marry her that is divorced, 
committeth adultery. 

Our blessed Saviour still proceeds in 
vindicating and clearing the sevei'ith com- 
mandment from the corrupt glosses of the 
Pharisees. Almighty God had tolerated 
the Jews, in case of uncleanness, to put 



ST. iMATTHEW. 



Chap. V. 

away thek wives by a bill of divorce, 
Deuf. xxiv. 1. Hereupon the Pharisees 
maintamed it lawful to put away the wife 
upon every slight occasion. This abuse 
Clirist corrects; and shows that divorce, 
except in case of adultery, is a certain 
breach of the seventh commandment. Learn, 

1. That so indissoluble is the marriage- 
covenant betwixt two persons, that nothing 
but adultery, which violates the bands of 
marriage, can dissolve or disannul it. Learn, 

2. When persons are unjustly put away, it 
is unlawful for them to marry to any other, 
or for others knowingly to marry to them. 

33 Again, ye have heard that it 
hath been sa id by them of old time, 
Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but 
shalt perform unto the Lord thine 
oaths : 34 But I say unto you, 
Swear not at all : neither by heaven ; 
for it is God's throne : 35 Nor by the 
earth ; for it is his footstool : neither 
by Jerusalem ; for it is the city of the 
great King. 36 Neither shalt thou 
swear by thy head, because thou 
canst not make one hair white or 
black : 

The next commandment which our 
Saviour expounds and vindicates, is the 
third, which requires a reverent use of 
God's name. Now the Pharisees taught 
that perjury was the only breach of this 
commandment; and that swearing was 
nothing, if they did not forswear them- 
selves ; and that persons were only obliged 
to swear by the name of God in public 
courts of justice, but in their ordinary and 
common discourse they might swear by any 
of the creatures. Nov/, in opposition to 
these wicked principles and practices, Christ 
says. Swear not at all : that is, 1. Swear 
not profanely in your ordinary discourse. 2. 
Swear not unduly by any of the creatures ; 
for that is to ascribe a deity to them. 3. 
Swear not lightly upon any trifling or 
frivolous occasion ; for oaths upon small 
occasions are great sins. So that an oath 
is not here forbidden by our Saviour, but 
restrained. For though light and needless, 
common and ordinary swearing, be a very 
great sin, yet to take an oath upon a solemn 
occasion, when lawfidly called thereunto, 
is a cliristian and necessary duty. Christ 
by this prohibition doth not forbid all 
swearing as a thing absolutely evil ; nor 
doth he forbid all assertory or promissory 
oaths in matters testimonial, when imposed 



28 



by the magistrate ; for Christ himself, Avhen 
adjured by the high-priest, did answer 
upon oath. But he forbids all voluntary 
oaths in common conversation, and in our 
ordinary discourse ; because an oath is an 
act of religious worship : therefore to trifle 
with it is an horrid provocation. 

37 But let your communication 
be, Yea, yea ; nay, nay : for what- 
soever is more than these, cometh of 
evil. 

Here our Lord prescribes a proper mean 
and remedy for shunning the occasion and 
danger of rash swearing ; and that is, by 
using and accustoming ourselves in con- 
versation to a true simplicity and constant 
plainness of speech; either affirming or 
denying, according to the nature of the 
thing ; letting oaths alone till we are called 
to them upon great occasions, for ending 
strife .between man and man. Learn, That 
the great end of speech being to com- 
municate the sense of our minds to each 
other, we ought to use such plsiinness and 
simplicity in speaking, that we may believe 
one another without oaths, or more solemn 
and religious asseverations. 

38 Ye have heard that it hath 
been said, An eye for an eye, and a 
tooth for a tooth : 39 But I say 
unto you. That ye resist not evil : 
but whosoever shall smite thee on 
thy right cheek, turn to him the other 
also. 40 And if any man will sue 
thee at the law, and take away thy 
coat, let him have thy cloak also. 
41 And whosoever shall compel thee 
to go a mile, go with him twain. 

Our Saviour here vindicates the sixth 
commandment, which obliges us to do no 
wrong to the body of our neighbour. God 
had given a law to the public magistrate, 
to require an eye for an eye, and a tooth 
for a tooth, when a person was wronged : 
hereupon the Pharisees taught, That a pri- 
vate person, wronged by another, might 
exact satisfaction from him to the same de- 
gree in which he had been wronged by him ; 
if he had lost an eye by another, he might 
revenge it, by taking away the eye of ano- 
ther. But, says Christ, I saj/ unto you, 
resist not evil; that is, seek not private re- 
venge, but leave the avenging of injuries to 
God and the magistrates ; and in trivial 
matters not to appeal at all, and, when 
forced, not for revenge sake : teaching us, 
That christians ought rather to suffer a 



24 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. V. 



double wrong, than to seek a private re- 
venge. Christianity obliges us to bear 
many injuries patiently, rather than to re- 
venge one privately. Religion indeed doth 
not bid us invite injuries, but it teaches us 
to bid them welcome : we are not to return 
evil for evU, but are rather to endure a 
greater evil than to revenge a less. 

42 Give to him that asketh thee, 
and from him that would borrow of 
thee, turn not thou away. 

Our Saviour here presses the law of 
charity upon his disciples : this is two-fold ; 
a charity in giving to them that beg, and 
a charity in lending to them that desire to 
borrow. Christianity obliges all those who 
have ability, to abound in works of charity 
of all sorts and kinds whatsoever. He 
that is truly charitable, doth not only give, 
but lends ; yea, sometimes lends, looking 
for nothing again. It is not enough to 
act charity of one sort, but we must be 
ready to act it in every kind, and to the 
highest degree that our circiuustances and 
abilities will admit. Giving is a God-like 
thing, he is the Giver of every good and 
perfect gift ; he gives before we ask : and 
we must imitate God in giving ; namely, 
by giving what we give cheerfully, sin- 
cerely, discreetly, proportionally, imiver- 
sally, in obedience to God's command, and 
with an eye at his glory. And there is 
sometimes as great charity in lending as 
there is in giving; many a poor family, 
by our lending them a small matter, may 
raise themselves into a condition to live 
r jmfortably and honestly in the world. 

43 Ye have heard that it hath been 
said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, 
and hate thine enemy : 44 But I 
say unto you, Love your enemies, 
bless them that curse you, do good 
to them that hate you, and pray for 
them which despitefully use you 
and persecute you : 

Another corrupt gloss which the Phari- 
sees had put upon the law of God, our Sa- 
viour here takes notice of : the law said. 
Thou shalt love thy neighbour. Lev. xtx. 
18. This they interpreted to relate only to 
their own countrymen, the Jews ; conclud- 
ing, that they might hate all the vmcir- 
cumcised nations, as enemies. But, saith 
our Saviour, I require you to love all men ; 
for if enemies must not be shut out of your 
love, none must. Loue your enemies; 



here the inward affection is required. 
Bless thein that curse you ; there outward 
civility and affability is required. Do 
Sood to them that hate you ; here real acts 
of kindness and charity are commanded to 
be done by us to our bitterest and most 
malicious enemies. Pray for them that 
despitefully use you, and persecute you ; 
these are the highest expressions of enmity 
that can be, calumny and cruelty ; yet are 
we commanded to pray for those that touch 
us in these two tenderest points, our repu- 
tation and our life. Learn, That Christi- 
anity obliges us to bear a sincere affection 
towards our most maUcious enemies ; to be 
ready upon all occasions to do good imto 
them, and pray for them. 

45 That ye may be the children 
of your Father which is in heaven : 
for he maketh his sun to rise on the 
evil and on the good, and sendeth 
rain on the just and on the unjust. 

To encourage us to the foregoing duty 
of loving our enemies, our Savioiu- pro- 
pounds the example of God himself to our 
imitation, 2Viat ye Jiiay he the children of 
your Father ; "that is, that you may be 
known to be the children of yoiu Father 
which is in heaven, by your likeness to him, 
and imitation of him. Note, 1. That the 
best evidence we can have of our divine 
sonship, is our conformity to the divine 
nature, especially in those excellent pro- 
perties of goodness and forgiveness. Note, 
2. That God doth good to them that are 
continually doing evil unto him. Rain 
and sun, fat and sweet, gold and silver, are 
such good things as their hearts and houses 
are filled with, who are altogether empty 
of grace and goodness. 

46 For if ye love them Avhich love 
you, what reward have ye ? do not 
even the publicans the same ? 47 
And if ye salute your brethren only, 
what do ye more than others ? do not 
even the publicans so } 

Yet farther to encourage us to the duty 
of loving our enemies, Christ assures his 
disciples that he expects more from them 
than from others ; more than common hu- 
manity and civil courtesy towards friends : 
for even heathens by the light of nature 
were taught to love those that love them : 
but he expected that Christianity should 
teach them better, and lead them farther, 
even to love their enemies, and to bless them 
that curse them. Note, Love for love is 



Chap. VI. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



25 



ustice ; love for no love is favour and 
Kindness : but love for hatred and enmity 
is divine goodness ; a Christ-like temper, 
which will render us illustrious on earth, 
and glorious in heaven. But Lord ! how 
do men confine their love to little sects and 
parties ! and from thence comes that bit- 
terness of spirit of one party towards ano- 
ther ; and oh how hard is it to find a chris- 
tian of a true catholic love and temper ! 

48 Be ye therefore perfect, even 
as your Father which is in heaven is 
perfect. 

That is, Aim at perfection in all christian 
virtues and divine graces, but particularly 
in this of love ; in imitation of your hea- 
venly Father, who is the perfect Pattern of 
all desirable goodness, and adorable per- 
fections. To be perfect as our heavenly 
Father is perfect, is indeed impossible, as 
to equality, but not as to imitation. The 
word rendered here perfect, by St. Mat- 
thew, is elsewhere, by St. Luke, rendered 
merciful, Luke vi. 36. implying, That cha- 
rity is the perfection of a christian's graces ; 
he that is made perfect in love, is perfect 
in all divine graces, in the account of God. 
Learn, 1. That there is no standing still in 
religion, but he that will be saved must 
press on towards perfection. Learn, 2. 
That no less than perfect and complete per- 
fection in grace, and particularly in the 
grace and love of charity, is and ought to 
be the aim of every christian in this life, 
and shall be his attainment in the next. 

CHAP. VI. 

This chapter is a continuation of our Saviour's in- 
comparable sermon upon the mount, in which he 
cautions his disciples against tlie hypocrisy and 
vain-glory of the Pharisees, hotli in their alms- 
giving and prayers ; the former in the first four 
verses of this chapter, which speak thus : 

^AKE heed that ye do not your 
alms before men, to be seen of 
them : otherwise ye have no reward 
« f your Father which is in heaven. 
/2 Therefore when thou doest thine 
alms, do not sound a trumpet before 
thee, as the hypocrites do in the 
synagogues and in the streets, that 
they may have glory of men. Verily 
I say unto you. They have their re- 
ward. 3. But when thou docst alms, 
let not thy left hand know what thy 
right hand doeth ; 4 That thine 
alms may be in secret : and thy Fa- 



ther, which seeth in secret, himself 
shall reward thee openly. 

Observe here, 1. The duty directed to, 
alms-giving after a right manner ; Do not 
your alms before meri : some copies read it. 
Do not your righteousness before men ; 
because alms-giving is a considerable part 
of that righteousness and justice which 
we owe unto our neighbour ; he that is un- 
charitable, is unjust : acts of charity are 
acts of j ustice and equity. It also intimates 
to us. That the matter of our alms should 
be goods righteously gotten : to give 
ahns of what is gotten unjustly, is robbery, 
and not righteousness. Observe, 2. Oiu- 
Saviour's cautionary direction in giving 
alms. Take heed that you do them not to 
be seen of men. It is one thing to do our 
alms that men may see them, and another 
thing to do them that we may be seen of 
men. • We ought to do alms before men, 
that God may be glorified : but not to be 
seen of men, that ourselves may be applaud- 
ed. Observe, 3. The particular sin which 
our Saviom- warns his disciples against in 
giving their alms, namely, ostentation and 
vain-glory, which the Pharisees were noto- 
riously guilty of; sounding a trumpet, to 
call people about them when they gave 
their alms. Thence learn. That the doing 
any good work, especially any work of 
charity and mercy, vain-gloriously,andnot 
with an eye to God's glory, will certainly 
miss of the reward of well-doing in another 
world. Observe, 4. The advice given by 
our Saviour for the prevention of this sin 
and danger ; and that is, to do our alms 
as secretly as we can ; Ijct not thy right hand 
know what thy left hand doeth ; that is, 
conceal it from thy nearest relations, and, 
if possible, from thyself. Note thence, 
That the secrecy of our charity is one good 
evidence of its sincerity. Hence the Egyp- 
tians made the emblem of charity to be a 
blind boy reaching out honey to a bee 
that had lost her wings. 

5 And when thou prayest, thou 
shalt not be as the hypocrites are : 
for they love to pray standing in the 
synagogues, and in the corners of 
the streets, that they may be seen of 
men. Verily I say unto you. They 
have their reward. 6 But thou, 
when thou prayest, enter into thy 
closet, and, when thou hast shut thy 
door, pray to thy Father which is in 



26 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. Vi. 



secret ; and thy Father, wliich seelh 
in secret, shall reward thee openly. 

Here our Saviour warns his disciples 
against the same pharisaical hypocrisy in 
praying, which he had before reproved in 
ahnsgiving. It was lawful to pray in the 
synagogues, and to pray standing, and 
that before men ; but to do this upon 
design to be applauded by men, is con- 
demned by Christ. Our business in prayer 
lies with God, we are not to concern our- 
selves how men like our performances, it is 
sufficient if God doth approve and will 
accept them. To cure the foregoing vanity, 
Christ directs to secret prayer in our 
closets, where God is the Witness, and will 
be the Rewarder, of our sincerity. Note, 
That secret prayer is a commanded and 
encouraged duty, and when in sincerity 
performed shall be attended with a public 
and glorious reward : Pray to thy Father 
which is in secret, S^'c. 

7 But when ye pray, use not vain 
repetitions, as the heathen do : for 
they think that they shall be heard 
for their much speaking. 8 Be not 
ye therefore like unto them : for your 
Father knoweth what things ye have 
need of, before ye ask him. 

A vain -glorious ostentation in prayer 
nvas condemned by our Saviour in the for- 
mer verse ; here a vain-glorious multiplica- 
tion of words, by idle tautologies and im- 
pertinent repetitions, is condemned also ; 
after the manner of the heathen, who ex- 
pect to have their prayers granted by God 
for the multiplicity of words used by 
themselves. Hence note, That a christian's 
business in prayer being not to inform God, 
(fur he Iciiowe'th rohat things xve 7ieed, he- 
fore we ask him ;) nor yet to move and 
persuade God, (for he is our Father :) it 
certainly argues an undue apprehension of 
God, when we lengthen out our prayers with 
vain repetitions and a multitude of words. 
Yet note, 1. That it is not all repetition of 
the same words in prayer which Christ 
here condemns, for he himself prayed thrice, 
using the same words, that the cup might 
pass from him. Nor, 2. Are we to appre- 
hend that prayers continued to a consider- 
able length are forbidden by Christ ; for 
Solomon's prayer was such, 1 Kings viii. 
Nehemiah's such, chap, ix, 'Tis said the 
people confessed and worshipped for 
three hours ; Christ continued in prayer all 
night ; and the church, Acts xii. made 



prayers without ceasing for St. Peter's en- 
largement. And we read of St. Paul's pray- 
ing night and day, 1 Thess. iii. 10. and 
of his commanding the churches to be in- 
stant in prayer, and to continue in prayer. 
But Clnrist here condemns prayers length- 
ened out upon an apprehension that we 
shall be heard for our much speaking, or 
can move God by arguments whilst we 
continue in our sins. Dr. Whitby. 

9 After this manner therefore 
pray ye :— 

As if Christ had said. For preventing 
these and all other faults in prayer, I will 
myself give you a complete form of pray- 
er, and an exact pattern and platform for 
your imitation when you pray. Note, 
That the Lord's Prayer is both a perfect 
form of prayer which ought to be used by 
us, and also a pattern and platform, ac- 
cording to which all our prayers ought to 
be framed. St. Matthew says. After this 
manner pray ye : St. Luke says. When 
yepray, say, 

— Our Father which art in heaven ; 
Hallowed be thy name : 10 Thy 
kingdom come : Thy will be done 
inearth, as ti is in heaven : 11 Give 
us this day our daily bread : 12 And 
forgive us our debts, as we forgive our 
debtors. 13 And lead us not into 
temptation, but deliver us from evil : 
For thine is the kingdom, and the 
power, and the glory, forever. Amen. 

The sense and signification of this best 
of prayers, is this : * O thou our Father in 

* Jesus Christ ! who remainest in thy 
' throne in heaven, and art there per- 

* petually praised, and perfectly obeyed by 

* glorious angels and glorified saints ; grant 

* that thy name may be glorified, thy throne 

* acknowledged, and thy holy will obeyed, 
' here on earth below, by us thy sons and 

* servants, most sincerely and readily, and 

* in some proportion to what is done in 
' heaven. And because, by reason of the 

* frailty of our natures, we cannot subsist 

* without the comforts and supports of life, 
' we crave, that such a proportion of the 

* good things of this life may be given unto 

* us, as may be sufficient for us ; and that 
' we may be content with our allowance. 
' And knowing that thy holiness and justice 

* oblige thee to punish sin and sinners, we 

* plead with thee, for the sake of thy Son's 
« satisfaction, to pardon to us our daily 



Chap. VI. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



27 



' trespasses, which we are guilty of in this 
' state of imperfection ; as we do freely and 

* heartily forgive others that have offended 

* and wronged us. And seeing that by 

* reason of the frailty of our natures we are 

* prone to rush upon and run into tempta- 

* tion ; we crave that, by the power of thy 
' omnipotent grace, we may be kept from 

* Satan's temptations, from the world's 
' allurements, from our own evil inclina- 
' tions, and be preserved unblamable to 

* thine everlasting kingdom ; which is ex- 

* alted over all persons, over all places, over 

* all things, in all times, past, present, and 

* to come : and accordingly, in testimony 

* of our desires, and in assurance to be heard 

* and answered, we say. Amen ; so be it ; 
' so let it be, even so, O Lord, let it be for 

* ever.' More particularly, in this compre- 
hensive and compendious prayer, the fol- 
lowing severals are remarkable. Namely, 
1. That the learned observe, that this pray- 
er is taken out of the Jewish liturgies, in 
which it is entirely found, excepting these 
words, As we forgive them that trespass 
against us. From whence Grotius notes, 
how far Christ the Lord of his church was 
from affecting novelties, or despising any 
tiling because it was a form ; a piece of 
piteous weakness amongst some at this day. 
Observe, 2. The person to whom Christ 
directs us to make our prayers ; namely, to 
God, under the notion of a Father ; teach- 
ing us, that in all our religious addresses to 
God, we are to conceive of him, and pray 
unto him, under the notion and relation of 
a Father. Our Father, Sfc. So is he by 
creation, by a right of providence and pre- 
servation, by redemption, by outward and 
visible profession, by regeneration and 
adoption ; and this relation which God 
stands in to us, may encourage us to pray 
unto him ; foe being our Father, we are 
sure that he is of easy access unto, and 
graciously ready to grant what we pray 
for. And whereas it is added, which art 
in heaven ; this is not to be so understood as 
if his essence were included, or his presence 
circumscribed or confined thexe, for he fills 
heaven and earth with the immensity of it : 
but he is said to be so in heaven, because 
there is the special manifestation of his pre- 
sence, of his purity, of his power and glory, 
and teaches us with what holy fear, with 
what humble reverence, and not without a 
trembling veneration, polluted dust ought 
to make their solemn approaches to the 
God of heaven. Observe, 3. That the 
three first petitions relate more immediately 



to God. 1. That his natnc may he hallow- 
ed. By the name of God, understand God 
himself, as made known to us in his attri- 
butes, words, and works. This name is 
hallowed or sanctified by us three ways ; 
by our lips, when we acknowledge his di- 
vine perfections, and tell of all his won- 
drous works ; in our hearts, by entertain- 
ing suitable conceptions of God ; and in 
our lives, when the consideration of these 
divine perfections engages us to suitable 
obedience. 2. That his kingdom may 
come : by which we are not to understand 
his general and providential kingdom, by 
which he ruleth over all the world, that 
being always come, and capable of no far- 
ther amplification ; but principally the king- 
dom of grace, promoted in the hearts of his 
people by the preaching of the gospel : we 
pray that God would dethrone sin and Sa- 
tan in our own and others' souls, and in- 
crease grace and sanctification both in us 
and them, and that the kingdom of glory- 
may be hastened, and we may be pre- 
served blameless to the coming of Christ 
in his kingdom. 3. That his wi/l may be 
done ; by which the preceptive rather than 
the providential will of God, is to be un- 
derstood : we are to obey the former uni- 
versally, and to submit to the latter very 
cheerfully. It intimates, that it ought to 
be the prayer and care, the study and en- 
deavour, of every christian, that the com- 
manding will of God may be so done by 
men upon earth, as it is by the glorified 
saints and glorious angels done in heaven ; 
namely, with that alacrity and cheerfiilness, 
with that speed and readiness, with that con- 
stancy and diligence, that the imperfection 
of human nature will admit of; imitating 
the blessed angels, who execute the divine 
commands without reluctancy or regret. 
Observe, 4. The three last petitions respect 
ourselves, as the three former did Almighty 
God. The first of which is a prayer for 
temporal blessings : give us this day our 
daily bread. Where note. The mercy pray- 
ed for, bread, which comprehends all the 
comforts and conveniences of life, and 
whatever is necessary for the supporting 
human nature. Also the qualification ; 
it must be our own bread, not another's, 
what we have a civil right to as men, and 
a covenant right to as christians. Note 
farther. The kind of bread we ask and de- 
sire ; it is daib' bread. Hereby we are 
put in mind of (nir continual dependence 
upon God for our lives, and for all the sup- 
ports of life which -^e enjoy, and also kept 



28 



ST. MATTHEW. 



in mind of our mortality. And mark the way 
and manner of conveying all good things 
to us, it is in a way of free-gift. Give us 
our daily bread, we cannot give it ourselves ; 
and when we have it of God, we receive it 
not as a debt, but as a free gift. The next 
petition is for spiritual blessings, Forgive 
zis our debts as we forgive our debtors. 
Where note, 1. Some things supposed, 
namely, That we are all sinners, and, as 
such, stand in need of pardon and forgive- 
ness. 2. That our sins are debts, wilful 
debts, repeated debts, innumerable debts, 
inexcusable debts, debts difficultly discharg- 
ed, and yet, if undischarged, undoing 
debts. 3. That we are obliged to pray 
every day for daily pardon, as we do for 
daily bread, for our sins are many and daily. 
4. It is here supposed, that since we are to 
pray for forgiveness of sin, it is impossible 
ever to satisfy the justice of God for sin. 
Lastly note. The condition or qualification 
requited, forgive as we forgive : This re- 
quires, 1 . That our minds be full of charity, 
free from rancour and ill-will, and all de- 
sires of revenge, and a secret grudge against 
another. 2. That we stand ready to help 
them, and to do any office of love and ser- 
. vice for them that have offended us. 3. 
That we admit our offending brother into 
friendship and familiarity, which is called a 
forgiving hun foom the heart : our heart 
must be towards him as formerly it was. 
The sixth and last petition follows, Lead us 
not into temptation, but deliver us from 
evil. Here note, A double mercy prayed 
* for ; namely, preventing mercy, and deli- 
vering mercy. 1. Preventing mercy, /e«f/ 
us not into temptation. Hereby it is sup- 
posed, 1. That we are unable to keep our- 
selves from temptation, partly through our 
natural depravity, partly through carnal se- 
curity. 2. That it is God that must keep 
us from Satan's assaults, his traps and snares, 
which every where he lays in ambush for us. 
3. That it is our own daily duty to be ear- 
nest and instant with God in prayer, not to 
suffer us by the subtraction of his grace, or 
in a way of punishment for sin, to run into 
the circumstances which may prove snares 
to us, but daily to afford us such a measure 
of his grace, as may keep us from falling by 
temptation, and not leave us falling under 
the temptation, but recover vis speedily by 
his power, and enable us to stand more 
firmly for the future. 2. We here pray for 
delivering mercy. Deliver us from evil; 
by which may be understood Satan the 
evil one, but especially the evil of sin. 



Chap. VI. 

We pray here that God would graciously 
preserve us from those vicious inclinations 
of our minds, and evil dispositions of our 
hearts, which render us so prone to yield 
to the temptations of Satan. Here we see 
the ugly and defonned face of sin : it is 
evil : evil in its author and original, it is of 
the devil, the evil one; evil in its effects and 
fruits, it doth debase and degrade us, pol- 
lute and defile us, befool and deceive us, 
and, without repentance, damns and de- 
stroys us. Observe lastly. The conclusion 
of the Lord's Prayer, which contains a com- 
plication of arguments to urge Almighty 
God with, for obtaining the mercy prayed 
for. L For thine is the kingdom ; thou 
art the only absolute and rightful Sovereign, 
and all men are concerned to honour thee, 
and obey thy laws ; thou art the supreme 
Governor of the world, and King of thy 
church, therefore let thy kingdom come, 
and thy will be done. 2. Thine is the 
power, therefore give us daily bread, and 
forgive our daily sins ; for thou hast pow- 
er to supply the one, and authority to 
pardon the other. The power of God is a 
mighty encouragement to prayer, and faith 
in the power of God has a mighty preva- 
lency in prayer with God. 3. Thine is the 
glory, that is, thine will be the glory ; as 
if we should say, " Lord ! by enabling us 
to hallow thy name by owning thy king- 
dom, by doing thy will, and by thy pro- 
viding for us, and pardoning of us, thou 
wilt have much glory by us and from us." 
It teaches us, that as our prayers in general 
ought to be argumentative ; so an argument 
in prayer drawn from the glory of God, is 
a mighty encouragement to hope for au- 
dience and acceptance. 4. For ever and 
ever, that is, thy kingdom is eternal, thy 
power eternal, thy glory eternal ; the God 
whom we pray to is an eternal God, and 
this attribute of God is improvable in 
prayer, as an encouragement to expect the 
same blessings from God which others have 
done before us ; for he is the same yester- 
day, to-day, and for ever. Amen ; a word 
used in all languages, denoting an hearty 
assent to our own prayers, and an hearty 
desire to receive the mercies prayed for, 
and an humble assurance that we shall be 
heard and answered. 

14 For if ye forgive men their tres- 
passes, your heavenly Father will also 
forgive you : 15 But if ye forgive not 
men their trespasses, neither will 
your Father forgive your trespasses. 



Chap. VI. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



29 



There being no duty to which our cor- 
rupt natures are more backward, than this 
of forgiving injuries, our Saviour repeats that 
duty over and over, and frequently incul- 
cates it in the holy Gospels ; assuring us, 
that forgiving others is the indispensable 
condition upon which we aie to expect for- 
giveness from God. Learn thence, That 
every time we go to God in prayer, and 
beg forgiveness of him, as we forgive others ; 
if we do not forgive them heaitily and sin- 
cerely, fully and freely, readily and willing- 
ly, we fly in the face of God, and our pray- 
ers are a sort of imprecations against our- 
selves. Note farther. That although God 
promises us forgiveness if we forgive others ; 
yet it is with this limitation, if no other con- 
dition of salvation be wanting, for this vir- 
tue alone cannot obtain favour with God, 
unless other duties are performed. 

16 Moreover, when ye fast, be 
not, as the hypocrites, of a sad coun- 
tenance : for they disfigure their 
faces, that they may appear unto men 
to fast. Verily I say unto you, 
They have their reward. 17 But 
thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine 
head, and wash thy face ; 18 That 
thou appear not unto men to fast, 
but unto thy Father which is in se- 
cret : and thy Father, which seeth 
in secret, shall reward thee openly. 

The next duty which our Saviour instructs 
his disciples in, is that of religious fasting, 
which is a devoting of the whole man, soul 
and body, to a solemn and extraordinary 
attendance upon God, in a particular time, 
set apart for that purpose ; in order to the 
deprecating of his displeasure, and for the 
supplicating of his favour, accompanied with 
an abstmence from bodily food and sensu- 
al delights, and from all secular affairs and 
worldly business. Now our Saviour's di- 
rection as to this duty of fasting is double : 
1. He cautions us to beware of an abuse in 
fasting : Be not as the Ai/pocrites are, of a 
sad countefiance ; that is. Do not affect a 
sullen sadness, ghastliness, and unpleasant- 
ness of countenance, like the hypocritical 
Pharisees, who vitiate and discolour their 
faces, and mar and abolish their native com- 
plexion. Hypocrisy can paint the face 
black and sable, as well as pride with red 
and white. 2. He counsels us to take the 
right way in fasting; to anoint the head 
anil wash the face : that is, to look as at 
other times, using our ordinary garb and at- 



tire, and not to affect any thing that may 
make us look like mourners, when really we 
are not so. Where we may note. That 
though hypocrites, by their dejected coun- 
tenances and mortified habits, do seek to 
gain an extraordinary reputation for piety 
and devotion, yet the sincere christian is to 
be abundantly satisfied with God's appro- 
bation of his services, and with the silent 
applause of his own conscience. 

19 Lay not up for yourselves 
treasures upon earth, where moth 
and rust doth corrupt, and where 
thieves break through and steal : 
20 But lay up for yourselves trea- 
sures in heaven, where neither moth 
nor rust doth corrupt, and where 
thieves do not break through nor 
steal: 21 For where your treasure 
is, there will your heart be also. 

Observe here, 1. Something impUed, 
namely. That every man has his treasure ; 
and whatsoever or wheresoever that treasure 
is, it is attractive, and draws the heart of a 
man unto it : for every man's treasure is his 
chief good. 2. Something permitted ; 
namely, the getting, possessing, and enjoy- 
ing, of earthly treasure, as an instniment 
enabling us to do much good. 3. Some- 
thing prohibited ; and that is, the treasur- 
ing up of worldly wealth, as our chief trea- 
sure : Lay not up treasures on earth ; that 
is, take heed of an inordinate affection to, of 
an excessive pursuit after, of a vain confi- 
dence and trust in, any earthly comfort, as 
your chief treasure. 4. Here is something 
commanded ; but lay up for yourselves 
treasures in heaven : treasure up those ha- 
bits of grace, which will bring you to an 
inheritance in glory : be fruitful in good 
works, laying up in store for yourselves a 
good foundation against the time to come, 
tliatye may lay hold of eternal life. Ob- 
serve, 5. The reasons assigned, 1. Why we 
should not lay up our treasure on earth ; 
because all earthly treasures are of a perish- 
ing and uncertain nature, they are subject 
to moth and rust, to robbery and theft; 
the perishing nature of earthly things 
ought to be improved by us, as an argument 
to sit loose in our affections towards them. 
2. The reason assigned why we should lay 
up our treasure in heaven, is this : because 
heavenly treasures are subject to no such 
accidents and casualties as earthly treasures 
are, but are durable and lasting. The 
things that are not sea7 are eternal. Tlie 



30 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. VI. 



treasures of heaveii are inviolable, incorrup- 
tible, and everlasting. Now we may know 
whether we have chosen these things for our 
treasure, by our high estimation of the worth 
of them, by our sensible apprehension of 
the want of them, by the torrent and ten- 
dency of our affection towards them, and 
by our laborious diligence and endeavours 
in the pursuit of them. W/iere the trea- 
sure is, there -will the heart be also. 

22 The light of the body is the 
eye : if therefore thine eye be single, 
thy whole body shall be full of light : 
23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole 
body shall be full of darkness. If 
therefore the light that is in thee be 
darkness, how great is that darkness ! 
In the foregoing verses our Saviovir ac- 
quainted us what in our affections and 
judgments we should esteem as our chief 
treasiu'e : now this judgment, concerning 
our chief treasure, is by our Saviour here 
compared to the eye ; as the eye is the can- 
dle of the body, that enlightens and directs 
it, so our understanding and judgment of 
the excellency of heaven and the things 
above, will draw our affections towards 
them, and quicken owe endeavours after 
them. Note thence. That such as our 
judgment is concerning happiness, such 
will our desires and endeavours be for the 
attainment of that happiness. Our affec- 
tions are guided by our apprehensions : 
where the esteem is high, endeavours will 
be strong. 

24 No man can serve two masters : 
for either he will hate the one, and 
love the other ; or else he will hold 
to the one, and despise the other. 
Ye cannot serve God and Mammon. 
Observe here, A two-fold master spoken 
of, God and the world. God is our Master 
by creation, preservation, and redemption ;, 
he has appointed us our work, and secured 
us our wages. The world is our master by 
intrusion, usiu-pation, and a general estima- 
tion ; too many esteeming it as their chief 
good, and delighting in it as their chief joy. 
Observe, 2. That no man can serve these 
two masters, who are of contrary interests, 
and issue out contrary commands ; when 
two masters are subordinate, and their com- 
mands subservient each to other, the diffi- 
culty of serving both is not great: but 
where commands interfere, and interests 
clash, it is impossible. No man can serve 
God and the world, but he may serve God 



^vith the world : no man can seek God and 
Mammon both as his chief good and ulti- 
mate end ; because no man can divide his 
heart betwixt God and the world. Learn, 
That to love the world as our chief good, 
and to serve the world as our chief and 
sovereign commander, cannot stand with the 
love and service which we bear and owe to 
God. The world's slaves, whilst such, can 
be none of God's freemen. 

25 Therefore I say unto you, Take 
no thought for your life, what ye 
shall eat, or what ye shall drink ; 
nor yet for your body, what ye shall 
put on. Is not the life more than 
meat, and the body than rai- 
ment ? 26 Behold the fowls of the 
air : for they sow not, neither do 
they reap, nor gather into barns ; yet 
your heavenly Father feedeth them. 
Are ye not much better than they ? 

The next sin which our Saviour cautions 
his disciples against is, immoderate care for 
the things of this life, such a solicitous and 
vexatious care for food and raiment, as is 
accompanied with diffidence and distrust of 
God's fatherly providence over us, and pro- 
vision for us ; and the arguments which 
our Saviour uses to dissuade from this sin, 
are many and cogent, laid down in the fol- 
lowing verses. Learn here, 1. That Al- 
mighty God will provide for every servant 
of his, food and raiment, and a competency 
of the comforts and conveniences of life. 
Learn, 2. That want of faith in God's 
promise, and a distrust of his fatherly care, 
is a God-provoking, and a wrath-procuring 
sin. Learn, 3. That notwithstanding God's 
promising to supply our wants, we not 
only may, but must, use such pmdential 
and provident means as are in our power, 
in order to the supply of our wants. Dr. 
Hammond's Practical Catech. 

27 Which of you, by taking 
thought, can add one cubit unto his 
stature ? 28 And why take ye 
thought for raiment ? Consider the 
lilies of the field, how they grow ; 
they toil not, neither do they spin : 
29 And yet I say unto you. That 
even Solomon in all his glory waa 
not arrayed like one of these. 3tt 
Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass 
of the field, which to-day is, and to- 
morrow is cast into the oven, shall 



Chap. VI. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



31 



he not much raore clothe you, O ye of 
little faith ? 31 Therefore take no 
thought, saying, What shall we eat ? 
or, What shalhve drink ? or. Where- 
withal shall we be clothed ? 32 
(Tor after all these things do the 
Gentiles seek :) for your heavenly 
Father knoweth that ye have need 
of all these things. 

Four arguments are here used by our Sa- 
viour to dissuade us from the sin of anxious 
care ; 'tis needless.'tis fn.iitless,'tis heathenish, 
'tis brutish. 1. 'Tis needless; Your heavenly 
Father knoweth that ye have need of these 
thincrs, and will certainly provide for you ; 
and what need you take care, and God too ? 
2. 'Tis fruitless ; Which of you by taking 
thought ran add one cubit to his stature ? 
That is, by all our solicitous care we can 
add nothing either to tne length or comfort 
of our lives. 3. 'Tis heathenish \ after all 
these things do the Gentiles seek. 3. 'Tis 
brutish; nay, worse than brutish; the 
fowls of the air, and the beasts of the field, 
are fed by God ; much more shall his chil- 
dren. Has God a breakfast for every little 
bird that comes chirping out of its nest ? 
and for every beast in the wilderness that 
comes leaping out of his den ? and will he 
not much more provide for you, O ye of 
little faith ? Surely he that feeds the ravens 
■when they cry, will not starve his children 
when they pray. Naturalists observe of 
the raven, that she exposes her young ones 
as soon as they are hatched, leaves them 
meatless and fieatherless, to shift and strug- 
gle with hunger as soon as they come into 
the world ; and whether by the dew from 
heaven, or flies or worms, God feedeth 
them ; when they gape and cry, they are 
provided for : from whence our Saviour in- 
fers, that man being much better, that is, a 
more considerable creature than the fowls, 
the providence of God will provide for him, 
though no solicitude and anxious thought- 
fulness of his contributes thereunto. 

33 But seek ye first the kingdom 
of God, and his righteousness; and 
all these things shall be added unto 
you. 

That is. Let your first and chief care be 
to promote the kingdom of grace in this 
world, and to secure the kingdom of glory 
in the next, and in order unto both, seek 
after an universal holiness and righteous- 
ness, both of heart and life, and then fear 
not the want of these outward comforts. 



they shall be added in measure, though 
not in excess ; to satisfy, though not to sa- 
tiate ; for health, though not for surfeit. 
Observe, 1. That christians must here on 
earth set themselves to seek heaven, or the 
kingdom of God. 2. That God's kingdom 
cannot be sought without God's righteous- 
ness : holiness is the only way to happi- 
ness. 3. That heaven, or the kingdom of 
God, must be sought in the first place, with 
our chief care and principal endeavour. 
4. That heaven being once secured by us, 
all earthly things shall be superadded by 
God, as he sees needful and convenient for 
us. 

34 Take therefore no thought for 
the morrow : for the morrow shall 
take thought for the things of itself. 
Sufficient unto the day i% the evil 
thereof. 

Heie our Saviour reinforces his dehorta- 
tion from solicitous care for worldly things ; 
assuring us, that every day will bring with 
it a sufficient burden of trouble, and there- 
fore we ought not to tonnent ourselves, by 
antedating our own sorrows, and foretelling 
what may or may not come to pass. 
Learn, That it is a painful, sinful, and un- 
profitable evil, to perplex ourselves with 
distrustful and distracting fears of »vhat may 
come upon us : every day has its own duty 
and difficulty ; and though sufferings must 
be expected, and prepared for, yet we must 
not torment ourselves to-daj with the fears 
of what may be to-morrow ; but every day 
cast our burden of care upon that God who 
daily careth for us. 

CHAP. VII. 

Our blessed Saviour having continued his sermon 
on the mount in the former chapter, concludes it 
in this, with an exhortation to several duties ; the 
first of which is, to forbear rash judging of others. 

TUDGE not, that ye be not judged. 

2 For with what judgment ye 

judge, ye shall be judged : and with 

what measure ye mete, it shall be 

measured to you again. 

Observe here. The prohibition, and the 
reason of that prohibition. The prohi- 
bition, judge not : this is not meant of 
ourselves, but of our neighbour. Self- 
judging is a great duty ; judging others, a 
grievous sin ; yet is not all judging of others 
condemned, but a judging of our neigh- 
bour's state or person rashly and rigidly, 
censoriously and uncharitably ; especially 
unrighteously and unjustly. AJid the 
reason of the prohibition is added ; if we 



32 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. Vli 



judge others rashly, God will judge us 
righteously. Learn thence, That a rash and 
censorious judging of others renders a per- 
son liable and obnoxious to the righteous 
judgment of God. Note farther, That 
Christ doth not here forbid judicial judging 
by the civil magistrate, nor ecclesiastical 
judging by the church governors, whose 
office gives them authority so to do. Nor 
does he forbid one christian to pass a judg- 
ment on the notorious actions of another, 
seeing the duty of reproof cannot be per- 
formed without it; but it is such a rash 
and censorious judging our brother, as is 
void of charity towards him, as is accom- 
panied with contempt of him ; especially if 
we have been guilty of the same or greater 
sins before him. 

3 And why beholdest, thou the 
mote that is in thy brother's eye, but 
considerest not the beam that is in 
thine own eye ? 4 Or how wilt 
thou say to thy brother, Let nie pull 
out the mote out of thine eye : and, 
behold, a beam is in thine own eye ? 
5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the 
beam out of thine own eye ; and then 
shalt thou see clearly to cast out the 
mote out of thy brother's eye. 

By the mote in our brother's eye, is to be 
imderstood, small and little sins, or some 
supposed sins : by the beam in our own eye, 
is meant, some notorious sin of our own. 
Learn, \. That those who are most censo- 
rious of the lesser infirmities of others, are 
usually most notoriously guilty of far great- 
er failings themselves. 2. That those who 
desire others should look upon their infir- 
mities with a compassionate eye, must not 
look upon the failings of others with a cen- 
sorious eye. ■ 3. That there is no such way 
to teach us charity in judging others, as to 
exercise severity in judging of ourselves. 

6 Give not that which is holy unto' 
the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls 
before swine, lest they trample them 
under their feet, and turn again and 
rend you. 

By that ttihich is holy, understand, the 
word and ordinances in general ; but ad- 
monition and reproof in particular : by dogs 
and swine, incorrigible and unreclaimable 
siimers, hardened scomers of holy things ; 
'tis a proverbial speech, expressing how sure 
charitable reprehensions are to be cast away 
upon incorrigible sinners. Learn, 1. That 



'tis possible for sinners to arrive at such . 
height and pitch in wickedness and sin^ 
that it may be a christian's duty not to 
admonish or reprove them. Observe, 2. 
How Christ provides, as for the honour of 
his word, so for the safety of those that 
publish it. As Christ will not have his 
word offered to some sinners, lest they 
should abuse it ; so lest they should abuse 
those that bring it. When sinners turn 
rinish swine, and we are in danger of being 
rent by them, Christ himself gives us a per- 
mission to cease reproving of them. 

7 Ask, and it shall be given you; 
seek, and ye shall find ; knock, and 
it shall be opened unto you : 8 For 
every one that asketh receiveth ; and 
he that seeketh findeth ; and to him 
that knocketh it shall be opened. 
9 Or what man is there of you, 
whom if his son ask bread, will he 
give him a stone ? 10 Or if he ask 
a fish, will he give him a serpent? 
11 If ye then, being evil, know how 
to give good gifts unto your children, 
how much more shall your Father 
which is in heaven give good things 
to them that ask him ? 

Obsei-ve here, A precept and a promise ; 
the precept, or duty commanded, is, impor- 
tunity and constancy in prayer, we must 
ask, seek, and knock : the promise, or mer- 
cy ensued, is, audience and acceptance 
with God. Note, 1. That man is a poor, 
indigent, and necessitous creature, full of 
wants, but unable to supply them. 2. 
That God is an all-sufficient Good, able to 
supply the wants, and to relieve the neces- 
sities, of his creatures, if they call upon 
him, and cry unto him. 3. Yet if we do 
not presently receive what we ask, we 
must still continue to seek and knock; 
though prayer be not always answered in 
our time, yet it shall never fail of an an- 
swer in God's time. • 4. The natural pro- 
pensity which we find in our breasts to hear 
the desires, and to supply the wants, of our 
own children, ought to raise in us a confident 
expectation that Almighty God will hear 
our prayers, and supply our wants, when 
we call upon him ; if a father will give 
when a child asks, much more will God. 
If ye, being evil, knoxo hovj to give good 
gifts unto your children, how much more 
shall your Father, S^-c. God loves to be 
giving, and to give good gifts is his delight. 



Chap. VII. 

But prayer is the key that opens both his 
heart and hand : yet not every person, nor 
every prayer, shall find acceptance witli 
God : the person praying must be a doer 
of God's will, St. John bi. 31. and not re- 
gard iniquity in his heart, nor entertain 
any grudge against his neighbours ; the 
matter we pray for must be what is agree- 
able to God's will, and the manner of our 
prayer must be in faith, and with fervency, 
and unfainting perseverance. 

12 Therefore all things whatso- 
ever ye would that men should do 
to you, do ye even so to them : for 
this is the law and the prophets. 

Observe here, 1. An incomparable rule 
of life ; always to do as we would be done 
by. Note, That the great rule of righte- 
ousness and equity in all our dealings with 
men is this, to do as we would be done unto : 
it is a short rule, a full rule, and clear rule ; 
both the light of nature and the law of 
Christ bind it upon us. Observe, 2. The 
commendation of tliis rule, it is the law 
and the prophets ; that is, the sum of the 
Old Testament, so far as concerns our duty 
to our neighbour ; and thf substance of the 
second table. Learn, T* at it is the design 
of the scriptures of the C id Testament, first, 
to render men dutiful knd obedient to God, 
and then righteous and charitable one to 
another. This is the law of the prophets, 
yea, the whole of the law and the prophets, 
to love God above ourselves, and to love 
our neighbour as ourselves. 

13 Enter ye in at the strait gate : 
for wide is the gate, and broad is 
the way, that leadeth to destruction, 
and many there be which go in 
thereat : 14 Because strait is the 
gate, and narrow is the way, which 
leadeth unto life ; and few there be 
that find it. 

Observe here, 1. That every man is a 
traveller in a certain way. 2. That there 
are but two ways in which the race of 
mankmd can travel ; the one strait and 
narrow, that leads to life and salvation ; 
the other broad and wide, which leads to 
hell and destruction. 3. That because of 
the difficulties in the way to salvation, and 
the easiness of the way to hell and destruc- 
tion, hence it is that so few wa-lk in the one, 
a.nd so many in the other. 4. That chris- 
tians having the strait way to heaven reveal- 
ed to them, in and by the word of God, 
should choose rather to go in that way 



ST. MATTHEW. 



»3 



alone to life, than to run with the multitude 
in that broad way, which leads down to 
the chambers of death and hell. 5. That 
the metaphor of a gate denotes our first 
entrance into a religious course of life, and 
its being strait denotes the difficulty that 
attends religion at first : evil habits to be 
put off, old companions in sin to be parted 
with 5 but when faith and patience have 
once smoothed our way, love will make 
our work dehghtful to us. 

15 Beware of false prophets,which 
come to you in sheep's clothing, but 
inwardly they are ravening wolves. 
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. 
Do men gather grapes of thorns, or 
figs of thistles .'' 17 Even so every 
good tree bringeth forth good fruit ; 
but a corrupt tree bringeth forth 
evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot 
bring forth evil fruit, neither can a 
corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 
19 Every tree that bringeth not 
forth good fruit, is hewn down, and 
cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore 
by their fruits ye shall know them. 

Observe here, 1. A caution given. Be- 
ware of false prophets. There were two 
sorts of deceivers which our Saviour gave his 
disciples a special warning of; namely, 
false Christs, and fsflse prophets : false 
Christs were such as pretended to be the sure 
Messias ; false prophets were such as pretend- 
ed to own Christianity, but drew people away 
from the simplicity of the gospel. Observe, 
2. The ground of this caution, thej/ come 
in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ra- 
vening wolves : that is, they make fair pre- 
tences to strictness in religion, and to great- 
er measures and degrees of mortification 
and self-denial than others. Whence we 
learn. That such as go about to seduce 
others, usually pretend to extraordinary- 
measures of sanctity themselves, to raise 
an admiration amongst those who judge of 
saints more by their looks than by their 
lives ; more by their expressions than by 
their actions. What heavenly looks and 
devout gestures, what long prayers and fre- 
quent fastings, had the hypocritical Phari- 
sees, beyond what Christ or his disciples 
ever practised ! Observe, 3. The rule laid 
do^vn by Christ, whereby we are to judge 
of false teachers ; Bi/ their fruits ye shall 
know them. Learn, that the best course 
we can take to judge of teachers pretend- 



34 



ST. MATTHEW 



Chap. VII. 



ing to be sent of God, is to examine the 
design and tendency of their doctrines, and 
the course and tenor of their conversations. 
Good teachers, hke good trees, will bring 
forth the good friiits of truth and holiness ; 
but evil men and seducers, like corrupt 
trees, will bring forth error and wickedness 
in their life and doctrine. 

21 Not every one that saith unto 
me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the 
kingdom of heaven ; but he that 
doeth the will of my Father which 
is in heaven. 22 Many will say to 
me in that day, Lord, Lord, have 
we not prophesied in thy name ? and 
in thy name have cast out devils ? 
and in thy name done many wonder- 
ful works ? 23 And then will I pro- 
fess unto them, I never knew you : 
depart from me,ye that work iniquity. 
Not every one, that is. Not any one^ 
that saith. Lord, I^ord, that is, that own- 
eth me by way of profession, by way of 
prayer, and by way of appeal, shall be 
saved ; but he that doeth the will of my 
Father, sincerely and universally. Learn 
hence, 1. That multitudes at the great 
day shall be really disowned by Christ as 
none of his servants, that did nominally 
own him for their Lord and Master : many 
that have now prophesied in his name, shall 
then perish in his wrath : many that have 
cast out devils now, shall be cast out to 
devils then : such as have now done many 
wonderful works, shall then perish for evil 
workers. Note, 2. That a bare name and 
profession of Christianity, without the prac- 
tice of it, is a very insufficient groimd to 
build our hopes of heaven and salvation 
upon. A profession of faith, and purposes 
of obedience, without actual obedience to 
the commands of God, will avail no per- 
son to salvation. 3. That gifts, eminent 
gifts, yea, extraordinary and miraculous 
gifts, are not to be rested in, or depended 
upon, as sufficient evidences for heaven and 
salvation. Gifts are as the gold which 
adorns the temple, but grace is like the 
temple that sanctifies the gold. 

24 Therefore whosoever heareth 
these sayings of mine, and doeth 
them, I will liken him unto a wise 
man, which built his house upon a 
rock : 25 And the rain descended, 
and the floods came, and the winds 
blew, and beat upon that house ; 



and it fell not : for it was founded 
upon a rock : 26 And every one 
that heareth these sayings of mine, 
and doeth them not, shall be likened 
unto a foolish man, which built his 
house upon the sand : 27 And the 
rain descended, and the floods came, 
and the winds blew, and beat upon 
that house ; and it fell : and great 
was the fall of it. 

Christ here speaks of two houses, the one 
built upon a rock, the other upon the sand ; 
these two houses were alike skilfully and 
strongly built to outward appearance ; while 
the sun shone, and the weather was fair, none 
could discern but that the house upon the 
sand was built as well, and might stand as 
long, as that on the rock ; but when the rain 
fell, the foundation failed. Thus, where is the 
hypocrite, with all his faith and fear, with 
ail his show and appearance of grace, in a 
wet and windy day r His goodly outside 
is like the apples of Sodom, fair and al- 
luring to the eye, but, being touched, in- 
stantly evaporate into dust and smoke. 
An hypocrite stands in grace no longer 
than till he fall into trouble ; and accord- 
ingly our Saviour here concludes his ex- 
cellent semion with an elegant simihtude. 
The wise builder is not the frequent hearer, 
but the faithful doer of the word, or the 
obedient christian ; the house is heaven, 
the hope of eternal life ; the rock is Christ ; 
the building upon the sand is resting in 
the bare performance of outward duties. 
The rains, the winds, the Jloods, are all 
kinds of afflicting evils, sufferings, and 
persecutions that may befall us. Note, I. 
That the obedient believer is the only wise 
man, that builds his hopes of heaven upon 
a sure and abiding foundation. Note, 2. 
That such professors as rest in the outward 
performance of holy duties, are foolish 
builders, their foundation is weak and 
sandy, and all their hopes of salvation 
vain and uncertain. An outward profes- 
sion of Christianity, though set off by pro- 
phesying and doing miracles, will not avail 
any man towards his account at the great 
day, without that real and faithful, that 
universal and impartial obedience to the 
laws of Christ which the gospel requires 

28 And it came to pass, when 
Jesus had ended these sayings, the 
people were astonished at his doc- 
trine : 29 For he taught them as 



Chap. VIII. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



35 



one having authority, and not as 
the scribes. 
Here we have two things observable: 1. 

The manner of our Lord's teaching, it was 
with (tut /writ)/ ; that is, it was grave and se- 
rious, pious and ardent, plain and profitable. 
With what brevity, without darkness ! with 
what gravity, without affectation ! with 
what eloquence, without meretricious orna- 
ment, were our Lord's discourses! The 
majesty he showed in his sermons, made it 
evidently appear that he was a Teacher 
sent of God, and clothed with his authority. 
Observe, 2. The success of his teaching : 
The people-were astonished at his doctrine : 
affected with admiration, believing him to 
be an extraordinary prophet. Learn, That 
such is the power of Christ's doctrine, 
when accompanied with the energy of the 
Holy Spirit, that it makes all the auditors 
admirers, yea, behevers j it causes astonish- 
ment in their minds, and reformation in 
their manners. 

CHAP.Vin. 

This chapter is called by St. Ambrose, Scriptura 
Miraculosa, the Miraculous Scripture ; there be- 
ing several great miracles recorded in this chap- 
ter: as the cleansing of the leper.the curing of the 
centurion's servant, the appeasing of the winds, 
&c. Our Saviour having delivered his doctrine 
in the former chapters ; in this he backs his 
doctrine with miracles, for the establishiDent and 
confirmation of it. 

HEN he was come down from 
the mountain, great multitudes 
followed hira. 2 And, behold, there 
came a leper and worshipped hira, 
saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst 
make rae clean. 3 And Jesus put 
forth his hand, and touched him, 
saying, 1 will ; be thou clean : And 
immediately his leprosywas cleansed. 
4 And Jesus saith unto him, See 
thou tell no man ; but go thy way, 
show thyself to the priest, and offer 
the gift that Moses commanded for 
a testimony unto them. 

Note here, In general, that the Jews paid 
civil adoration to their kings, and to their 
prophets : thus Saul stooped with his face 
to the ground to Samuel ; Nebuchadnezzar 
fell on his face before Daniel ; and Obadiah 
before Elijah ; from whence may be gather- 
ed that the adorations given to Christ by 
them that knew nothing of his divinity, 
were paid him as a prophet sent from God. 
Only next, several particulars are here ob- 
servable J as, L The petitioner, and that is 



W 



a leper, lie came and worshipped Christ, 
and petitions him to heal him, saying, Jjord, 
if thou -wilt, thou ca?ist make me clean. 
Where he discovers a firm belief of Christ's 
power, but a diffidence and distrust of 
Clirist's will, to heal him. Learn, Christ's 
divine power must be fully assented to, and 
firmly believed, by all those tliat expect 
benefit by him, and healing from him. 
Observe, 2. How readily our Saviour grants 
his petition : Jesus touched him, sar/ing, I 
tvill ; he thou clean. Our Saviour by 
touching the leper showed himself to be 
above the law, as God ; though subject to 
the law, as man ; for by the ceremonial 
law the leper was forbidden to be touched. 
Yet it was a received rule among the Jews, 
that a prophet might vary from the punctilios 
of (he ceremonial law, or change a ritual 
law ; so did Elijah stretch himself on the 
dead child, and Elisha on the Shunamite's 
son, notwithstanding the prohibition of 
coming near the dead. But Christ's curing 
the leper by the word of his mouth, and 
the touch of his hand, showed his divine 
power, and proved himself to be truly and 
really sent of God : leprosy being called 
by the Jews ^& finger of God, a disease of 
his sending, and of his removing : our 
Saviour therefore, as a proof of his being 
the Messias, tells the disciples of John, That 
the lepers xvere cleansed. Matt. xi. 5. and 
the dead raised : which being put together, 
intimates, that the cleansing of the leper is 
as peculiar an act of divine power as the 
raising of the dead ; and accordingly, 2 
Kings V. 7. said the king, Am I God, that 
this man sends to me to cure a man of his 
leprosy ? Observe, 3. The certainty and 
suddenness of the cure ; immediately his 
leprosy was cleansed: Christ not only 
cured him without means, but without the 
ordinary time required for such a cure. 
Thus Christ shov/ed both power and will 
to cure him miraculously, who believed 
his power, but questioned his willingness. 
Observe, 4. The charge and command 
given by Christ after the cure, 1. To tell no 
man ; wherein the modesty, humility, and 
piety of Christ, is discovered, together with 
the care of his own safety. His modesty, 
in not desiring his good deeds should be 
proclaimed ; his humility, in shunning 
vain-glorious applause and commendation ; 
his piety, in desiring all the praise, honour, 
and glory, should redound entirely to God ; 
and his care of his own safety, lest the pub- 
lishing of this miracle should create him 
imtimely danger from the Pharisees. Chris- 
D 2 



30 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. VIII. 



tians, behold your pattern to do much good, 
and make but Uttle noise. Christ atiected 
no popular air; he did not spoil a good 
work by vain ostentation. When we 
work hard for God, take we great care that 
pride doth not blow either it or us. O how 
difficult it is to do much service, and not 
value ourselves too much for the services 
which we do ! The second part of the 
charge which Christ gave the recovered le- 
per was, To show himself to the priest, 
and offer the gift which Moses commanded, 
for a testimoni) unto them ; that is, as a 
testimony to the Jews that he was the 
Messias, and that he did not oppose the 
ceremonial law given by Moses. Where 
note. That our Saviour would have the 
ceremonial law punctually observed, so long 
as the time for its continuance did endure : 
though he came to destroy that law, yet 
whilst it stood he would have it observed. 
Here Dr. Lightfoot observes, that though 
the priesthood was much degenerated from 
its primitive institution by human invention, 
yet Christ sends the leper to submit to it ; 
because though they did corrupt, yet they 
did not extinguish, the divine institution. 

5 And when Jesus was entered 
into Capernaum, there came unto 
him a centurion, beseeching him, 
6 And saying, Lord, my servant 
lieth at home sick of the palsy, 
grievously tormented. 7 And Jesus 
saith unto hira, I will come and heal 
him. 8 The centurion answered 
and said, Lord, I am not worthy 
that thou shouldest come under my 
roof: but speak the word only, and 
my servant shall be healed. 9 For 
I am a man under authority, having 
soldiers under me : and I say to this 
man. Go, and he goeth ; and to 
another. Come, and he cometh ; and 
to my servant, Do this, and he doeth 
it. 10 When Jesus heard it, he 
marvelled, and said to them that 
followed. Verily I say unto you, I 
have not found so great faith, no, 
not in Israel. 

The second miracle our Saviour works in 
this chapter, is the healing of the centurion's 
servant: where observe, 1. The person that 
applies to our Saviour for help and healing : 
he was a Gentile, an heathen, a Roman 
soldier, an officer and commander ; yet he 



believes in and relies upon the power of 
Christ. Note, That such is the freeness of 
divine grace, that it extends itself to all sorts 
and ranks, to all orders and degrees of men, 
without exception. Even the bloody trade 
of war yields worthy clients to Christ. 
He doth not so much regard who we are, 
and whence we are, as what we are, and 
with what dispositions and inclinations we 
come unto him. Observe, 2. The person 
whom the centurion comes to Christ for ; 
not for himself, nor for his son, but for his 
servant ; his servant is sick, he doth not 
drive him out of doors, nor stand gating 
by his bed-side, but looks out for relief for 
him : a worthy example. Some masters 
have not so much regard to their sick servants 
as they have to their oxen or their swine ; 
but he is not worthy of a good servant, 
that in a time of sickjiess is not willing to 
serve his servant. A conceit of superiority 
must beget in no man a neglect of charitable 
offices towards inferiors. Obsen^e, 3. Unto 
whom the centurion seeks, and with what 
zeal and application : he seeks not to 
wizards and conjurers, but to the physician, 
for his poor servant ; yea, to Christ, the best 
Physician : and this not with a formal re- 
lation in his mouth, but with a vehement 
aggi-avation of the disease : Mt/ servant is 
grievously tormented : where the master's 
condolency and tender sympathy with his 
afflicted servant is both matter of commen- 
dation and imitation also. Observe, 4, 
The happy mixture of humility and faith 
which was foimd in this centurion ; he 
owns his unworthiness of having Clu-ist 
come under his roof; yet he acknow- 
ledged Christ's power, that by speaking of 
a word his servant might be healed by him. 
Humility is both the fruit of faith, and the 
companion of faith ; an hiraible soul has 
an high esteem of Christ, and a low esteem 
of himself. Observe, 5. How oiu- blessed 
,Saviotir exceeds both his desires and his ex- 
pectations ; Christ says, not only, I will 
heal him, but, I will come and heal him : 
wonderful condescension ! In St. John, 
chap. iv. 47. we read of a certain nobleman 
and ruler, that twice entreated our Saviour 
to come to his house and heal his son ; 
but our Lord refused, and did not stir a 
foot ; here the centurion doth but barely 
tell Christ of his poor servant's sickness, and 
Christ both unasked and undesired says, 
I will come and heal him. O how far was 
Christ from seeming in the least to honour 
riches and despise poverty ! He that came 
in the form of a servant, goes down and 



Chap. VIII. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



37 



visits a sick servant upon his poor pallet- 
bed, that would not visit the rich couch of 
the ruler's son. How should we stoop to 
the lowest offices of love and kindness to 
one another, when Christ thus condescend- 
ingly abased liimself before us ! Observe, 
6. The notice and observation which our 
Saviour takes of the centurion's faith ; he 
wondered at it from him,who had wrought 
in liim. Christ wrought this faith as God, 
and wondered at it as man : what can be 
more wonderful than to see Christ wonder ? 
We do not find our Saviour wondering at 
worldly pomp and greatness. When the 
disciples wondered at the magnificence of 
the temple, Christ rather rebuked them, 
than wondered with them ; but when he 
sees the gracious acts of faith, he is ravished 
with wonder. Let it teach us to place our 
admiration where Christ fixes his : let us be 
more affected with the least measure of 
grace in a good man, than with all the 
gaieties and glory of a great man ; let us 
not envy the one, but admire the other. 

11 And I say unto you, That 
many shall come from the east and 
west, and shall sit down with Abra- 
ham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the 
kingdom of heaven : 12 But the 
children of the kingdom shall be 
cast out into outer darkness : there 
shall be weeping and gnashing of 
teeth. 13 And Jesus said unto the 
centurion. Go thy way ; and as thou 
hast believed, so be it done unto 
thee. And his servant was healed 
in the self-same hour. 

This was the first occasion that Christ 
took to speak of the calling of the Gen- 
tiles, and the rejection of the Jews. Ob- 
serve here, That the unbelieving Jews 
are called the children of the kingdom, 
because bom within the pale of the visible 
church ; they presumed that the kingdom 
of heaven was entailed upon them, becaus ' 
they were Abraham's seed ; they boasted 
of and gloried in their external and outward 
privileges. Note thence, 1. That gospel- 
ordinances, and church-privileges enjoyed, 
are a special honour to a people admitted 
1o the participation of them ; our Savioiu" 
here styles the Jews upon that account, 
the children of the kingdom. 2. That 
such privileges enjoyed, but not improved, 
do provoke Almighty God to inflict the 
heaviest of judgments upon a people. 
The children of the kingdom shall be cast 



into outer darkness ; that is, into the dark- 
nes of hell, where shall be perpetual lamen- 
tation for the remembrance of the gospel 
kindly offered, but unthankfuUy rejected. 

14 And when Jesus was come 
into Peter's house, he saw his wife's 
mother laid, and sick of a fever. 
15 And he touched her hand, and 
the fever left her : and she arose, 
and ministered unto them. 

The next miracle which our Saviour 
wrought, was, in curing Peter's wife's mo- 
ther of a fever ; the miracle was not in curing 
an incurable distemper, but in the way and 
manner of curing: For, 1. It was by a /omcA 
of our Saviour's hand. 2. It was instanta- 
neous and sudden ; immediately the fever 
left her. 3. The visible effects of her reco- 
very presently appeared ; she instantly rose 
and mbiisteredunto them. That she could 
arise, argued her cure miraculous \ that she 
could and did arise and administer unto 
Christ, argued her thankfulness, and a great 
sense of his goodness upon her mind. 
Note here, 1. That marriage in the minis- 
ters of the gospel, yea, even in the apostles 
themselves, and in Peter, the chiefest of 
them, was neither censured nor condemned 
by our Saviour. St. Peter had a wife and 
family, which Chiist condescends to visit. 
Observe, 2. That the first thing which 
Christ takes notice of in the house which 
he condescends to visit, is what aileth any 
in it ; what need they stand in of his help 
and healing ; and accordingly, together 
with his presence, he affords them relief. 
Learn, 3. That when Christ has graciously 
visited and healed any of his servants, it 
ought to be their first work and next care 
to administer vmto Christ ; that is, to em- 
ploy their recovered health, and improve 
their renewed strength, in his service : She 
arose and ministered. 

16 When the even was come, they 
brought unto him many that were 
possessed with devils : and he cast 
out the spirits with his word, and 
healed all that were sick : 17 That 
it might be fulfilled which was 
spoken by Esaias the prophet, say- 
ing, Himself took our infirmities, and 
bare our sicknesses. 

It was very common about the time of our 
Saviour's coming in the flesh, for the devil 
bodily to possess persons, and very griev- 
ously to torment them. This is one of the 



88 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. VIII. 



sad and dismal evils which sin has made 
us liable and obnoxious to, to be bodily 
possessed by Satan : when we give Satan 
the power of our hearts, it is a just and 
righteous thing with God to give him tlie 
possession of our bodies. But who is the 
person that dispossesses Satan ? Christ Jesus : 
'tis a stronger than the strong man that 
must cast out Satan : our Jesus, in whom 
we trust, by his powerful word alone can 
deliver from Satan's power, and all the sad 
effects and consequences thereof. But 
observe, with what condolency and sympa- 
tliizing pity he exercises these acts of mer- 
cy and compassion towards poor creatures : 
he is said to take our infirmities upon him- 
self, and to bear our sicknesses ; he bare the 
guilt which was the cause of these griefs and 
sorrows ; and he bare the sorrows them- 
selves by a tender sympathy with us under 
the burden of them. Christ considers our 
sufferings as our own : he is afflicted in all 
our afflictions, and pained with all our 
pains ; in this sense, he took our infirmities, 
and bare our sicknesses. 

18 Now when Jesus saw great 
multitudes about him, he gave com- 
mandment to depart unto the other 
side. 19 And a certain scribe came, 
and said unto him, Master, I will 
follow thee whithersoever thou goest. 
20 And Jesus saith unto him, Tlie 
foxes have holes, and the birds of 
the air have nests ; hut the Son of 
man hath not where to lay his head. 
Observe here, a person resolving to fol- 
low Christ: a good resolution, if made 
deliberately, and not rashly ; nor for sinister 
ends and secular advantages j wliich, it is 
to be feared, was the case here, by the an- 
swer which our Saviour gives ; for says he, 
Foxes have holes, Sfc. that is, my condition 
in this world is very poor, worse than the 
birds of the air, for they have their fixed 
nests ; or the beasts of the earth, for they 
have their dens and holes , but I have no 
fixed habitation. Note, 1. That many 
persons take up rash and sudden resolutions 
to follow Christ, before they have well con- 
sidered what it will cost them : what they 
are like to lose by being his disciples. 2. 
That such men may find themselves misera- 
bly mistaken, who expect to gain any thing 
by following Christ, but their soul's salva- 
tion. Note, 3. Tlie title given to Christ ; he 
is stiled here, and frequently elsewhere. The 
So7i of man: 1. To show the truth of liis 



humanity ; The Son of man must be Man. 
2. To show the depth of his abasement ; 
Christ humbled, yea, emptied himself, when, 
being the Son of God, he submitted to be 
made Man : The Son of 7nan hath not 
where to lay his head. 

21 And another of his disciples 
said unto him, Lord,sufl'er me first 
to go and bury my father. 22 But 
Jesus said unto him. Follow me : 
and let the dead bury their dead. 

We must not suppose, by this prohibition, 
that Christ disallows or disapproves of any 
civil office from one person to another, much 
less of a child to a parent, either living or 
dying: but he lets us know, 1. That no 
office of love and service to man must be 
preferred before our duty to God, unto 
whom we owe oxu: first obedience. 2. That 
lawful and decent offices become sinful 
when they hinder greater duties. 3. That 
such as are called to the work and employ- 
ment of the ministry, must mind that alone, 
and leave inferior duties to inferior persons : 
as if our Saviour had said, Others will serve 
well enough to bury the dead ; but thou, 
that art a consecrated person, must do that 
unto which thou art consecrated and set 
apart. Under the law, the priests might not 
come near a dead corpse, nor meddle with 
the interment of their own parents ; unto 
which our Saviom probably alludes. 

23 And when he was entered into 
a ship, his disciples followed him. 
24 And, behold, there arose a great 
tempest in the sea, insomuch that 
the ship was covered with the waves : 
but he was asleep. 25 And his dis- 
ciples came to him, and awoke him, 
saying, Lord, save us : Ave perish. 
26 And he saith unto them, Why 
are ye fearful, O ye of little faith ? 
Then he arose, and rebuked the 
winds and the sea ; and there was 
a great calm. 27 But the men mar- 
velled, saying, What manner of man 
is this, that even the winds and the 
sea obey him ! 

Observe here, 1 . Christ and his disciples 
no sooner put forth to sea, but dangers at- 
tend, and difficulties do accompany them; 
a tempest arose, and the ship was covered 
with waves. Learn tlience. That the pre- 
sence of Christ itself doth not exempt his 
disciples and followers from trouble and 



Chap. VIII. 



danger : here is a great tempest about the 
disciples' ears, though Christ was in their 
company. Observe, 2. The posture our 
Saviour was in when this tempest arose; 
he being weary on the land, was fallen 
asleep in the ship : our blessed Redeemer 
hereby showed himself to be truly and 
really Man ; as he took upon him our hu- 
man nature, so he subjected himself to oiu" 
human infintiities. Observe, 3. The dis- 
ciples' application made to him : they 
awoke him with a sad outcry. Lord, save 
us, we perish. Here was faith mixed with 
hiraian frailty : they had faith in his power, 
that he could save them ; but being asleep, 
they concluded he must awake before 
he could save them : whereas, though his 
human nature was asleep, yet his divine 
nature neither slumbered nor slept. Learn 
hence. That the prevalency of fear in a 
time of great and imminent danger, though 
it may argue weakness of faith, yet it is no 
evidence of want of faith : in the midst of 
the disciples' fears, they believed Chi'ist's 
power. Observe, 4. A double rebuke 
given by our Saviour: 1. To the winds 
and seas ; next, to the fears of his disciples. 
He rebukes the winds and the seas, and in- 
stantly they are calm ; when the sea was 
as furious as a madman, Christ by his di- 
vine power calms it. Learn hence. That 
the most raging winds, and outrageous seas, 
cannot stand before the rebukes of Christ ; 
if once he rebukes them, their rage is down : 
God lays a law upon the most lawless 
creatures, even when they seem to act most 
lawlessly. 2. Christ rebukes his disciples' 
fears. Why are 7/e fearful? No sooner 
was the stonn up, but their fears were up ; 
and they were as much overset with their 
boisterous passions, as the vessel was with 
the tempestuous winds ; and accordingly 
Christ rebukes the tempest within, and then 
the tempest without ; first he calms their 
hearts, and then the seas. From this in- 
stance we see, that great faith in the habit 
may appear little in act and exercise : the 
disciples' faith in forsaking all and follow- 
ing Christ, was great faith ; but in this pre- 
sent act, their faith was weak through the 
prevalency of their fear. Note, lastly. 
That the disciples' faith was lessened by 
their fear ; feai is generated by unbelief, 
and unbelief strengthened by fear : as in 
things natural there is a circular generation, 
vapours beget showers, and showers va- 
pours ; so it is in things moral, nothing 
can cure us of fear, till God cures us of un- 
belief; Christ therefore takes an elfectual 



ST. MATTHEW. 



39 



method to rid the disciples of their fears, 
by rebuking their unbelief. 

28 And when he was come to the 
other side, into the country of the 
Gergesenes, there met him two pos- 
sessed with devils, coming out of the 
tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no 
man might pass by that way. 

We read of few, if any, in the Old Tes ■ 
tament, that were possessed with evil spirits; 
but of many in the New Testament. Our 
Saviour came into the world to destroy 
the works of the devil ; therefore he suffer- 
ed Satan to enter some human bodies, to 
show his divine power in casting them out. 
Note here, L That the evil angels by their 
fall lost their purity, but not their power. 
2. That they do no oftener exert their pow- 
er in doing miscliief to the bodies and lives 
of rnen, is from the restraining power of 
God. The devils cannot do all the mis- 
chief they would, and they shall not do all 
they can. 

29 And, behold, they cried out, 
saying. What have we to do with 
thee, Jesus, thou Son of God ? art 
thou come hither to torment us before 
the time ? 

Observe, The devils knew Christ to be 
the Son of God, and that he came into the 
world to be a Saviour, but not their Sa- 
viour ; and therefore they cry out, What 
have -xe to do xuith thee ? or thou with us ? 
O what an imcomfortable faith is this, to be- 
lieve that Christ is a Saviour, and at the 
same time to know that he is none of our 
Saviour ! But what is their outcry against 
Chi'ist ? This, Art thou come to torment 
us before the time ? Learn, 1. That there 
are tortures appointed to the spuitual na- 
tures of evil angels. The fire of hell is con- 
ceived to be partly material, and partly 
spiritual ; partly material, to work upon the 
bodies of evil men, and partly spiritual, to 
work upon the souls of men, and the spirits 
of evil angels. Learn, 2. That though the 
devils be now as full of discontent as they 
can be, yet they are not so full of torment 
as they shall be ; their speech here inti- 
mates, that there will be a time when their 
torments shall be increased, when they 
shall have their fill of torment ; therefore 
they pray, Increase not our torments be- 
fore the appointed time of their increase. 

•30 And there was a good way off 
from them an herd of many swine 



40 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. IX. 



feeding. 31 So the devils besought 
him, saying, If thou cast us out, suf- 
fer us to go away into the herd of 
swine. 

Observe here, 1. A notable evidence of 
Satan's linaited povi^er, that a whole legion 
of devils had not power to destroy one 
man, nor were able to hurt the meanest 
creature without permission. Observe, 2. 
The devils' acknowledgment of their own 
impotency, and Christ's power ; their ask- 
ing leave of Christ to go into the swine, 
shows that they could not go of themselves. 
Learn hence, 1 . The restlessness of Satan's 
malice ; he will hurt the swine rather than 
not hurt at all. 2. That though Satan's 
malice be infinite, yet his power is limited 
and bounded ; as he cannot do all the mis- 
chief he would, so he shall not do all he 
can. 

32 And he said unto them, Go. 
And when they were come out, they 
went into the herd of swine : and, 
behold, the whole herd of swine ran 
violently down a steep place into the 
sea, and perished in the waters : 

Although Christ seldom wrought any 
destructive miracle, and although he cer- 
tainly foresaw that the swine would perish 
in the waters ; yet that the people might see 
how great the power and malice of the 
devil would be, if not restrained by Christ, 
he permitted him to enter into the swine ; 
Christ said unto them. Go ; and how glad 
was Satan of this pemiission to enter into 
the swine, in order to their destruction. Let 
it teach us our duty, by prayer, to commit 
ourselves, and all that we have, morning 
and evening, into the hands of God's care ; 
all that we have in the house, and all that 
we have in the field, that it may be preserved 
from the power and malice of evil spirits. 

33 And they that kept them fled, 
and went their ways into the city, 
and told every thing, and what was 
befallen to the possessed of the de- 
vils. 34 And, behold, the whole 
city came out to meet Jesus : and 
when they saw him, they besought 
him that he would depart out of 
their coasts. 

Observe, 1 . What a contrary effect this 
miracle which Christ wrought had upon 
these people : instead of believing on him 
for his miraculous cure of the possessed, the 



loss of their swine enrages them, and makes 
them desire Christ to depart from them. 
Temporal losses are so great in xorldly 
men's estimation, that spiritual advantages 
are nothing esteemed ; carnal hearts preter 
their swine before their Saviour, and had 
rather lose Christ's presence than their 
worldly profits. Observe, 2. How unani- 
mous and importunate these Gadarenes 
were to get rid of Christ ; the whole city 
came out, and are not only willing to his 
departure, but they beseech him to depart 
out of their coasts. Learn hence. That de- 
plorably sad is the condition of such from 
whom Christ departs ; more deplorably sad 
their state who say unto Christ, Depart ; but 
most deplorably sad is the case of them 
that entreat and beseech Christ to depart 
from them : thus did these Gadarenes, and 
accordingly Christ took ship and departed 
from them, and we never read of his return 
unto them. 

CHAP. IX. 
\ ND he entered into a ship, and 
passed over, and came into his 
own city. 

In the last verse of the foregoing chap- 
ter, the Gadarenes with one consent desire 
Christ to depart out of their coasts ; here 
we find our Saviour, according to their de- 
sire, departing from them into his own city, 
which was Capernaum : for Bethlehem 
brought him forth, Nazareth brought him 
up, and Capernaum was his dwelling-place. 
From their desire of Christ's departure, and 
from Christ's departing according to their 
desire, we learn. That the blessed Jesus will 
not long trouble that people with his pre- 
sence, who are weary of his company, and 
desirous of his departure. 

2 And, behold, they brought to 
him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a 
bed : and Jesus seeing their faith, 
said unto the sick of the palsy. Sou, 
be of good cheer; thy sins be for- 
given thee. 

Observe, 1. The patient. Owe s/cA: ofMe 
pals?/, which being a resolution of the 
nerves, weakens the joints, and confines 
the person to his bed or couch. As a de- 
monstration of Christ's divine power, he 
was pleased to single out some incurable 
diseases (as the world accounts them) to 
work a cure upon, as the leprosy and palsy 
2. The Physician, Jesus Christ ; he alone 
is that wise, faithful, and compassionate 
Physician, that can and doth cure both soul 



Chap. IX. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



41 



and body. Observe, 3. The moving and 
impulsive cause of his cure, Jesus seeing 
their faith ; that is, their firm persuasion 
that he was clothed with a divine power, 
and able to help ; together with their con- 
fidence in his goodness, that he was as will- 
ing as he was able ; and no sooner did they 
exercise their faith in believing, but Christ 
did exert his divine power in healing. It 
was not the sick man's faith but the faith of 
his friends : the faith of others may prevail 
for obtaining corporal benefits and temporal 
blessings for us : thus the centurion's faith 
healed his servant, and Jairus's faith raised 
his daughter. Observe, 4. The marvellous 
efficacy and power of faith ; it obtained 
not only what was desired, but more than 
was expected : they desired only the healing 
of the body ; but Jesus seeing their faith, 
heals body and soul too, saying, Be of 
good cheer: th}/ sins are forgiven thee; 
intimating, that diseases proceed from sin, 
because Christ first speaks of forgiving 
them ; yet it is conceived that Christ rather 
speaketh here of the temporal remission of 
the punishment, than of the eternal ; be- 
cause that depends on our own faith, and 
not others'. 

3 And, behold, certain of the 
scribes said within themselves, This 
man blasphemeth. 

See here how the best of men are some- 
times charged with saying and doing 
I'he worst of things ; to do well and bear 
ill, was the portion of Christ himself, and 
may be the portion of the holiest of those 
that belong to Christ : the innocent Jesus 
was accused of blasphemy, of sorcery, and 
of the blackest crimes. Innocency itself 
can protect no man from slander and false 
accusations. 

4 And Jesus knowina; their 
thoughts, said, Wherefore think ye 
evil in your hearts? 5 For whether 
is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven 
thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? 
6 But that ye may know that the 
Son of man hath power on earth to 
forgive sins, (then saith he to the 
sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy 
bed, and go unto thine house. 

Our Saviour here gives the Pharisees a 
two-fold demonstration of his godhead : 
First, by letting them understand that he 
knew their thoughts; for to search the 
hearts, and to know the thoughts, of the 
children of men, is not in the power either 



of angels or men, but the prerogative of God 
only. Secondly, by assuming to himself 
a power to forgive sins ; — the Son of man 
hath power to forgive sins. Our Saviour 
here, by forgiving sins in his own name, 
and by his own authority, doth give the 
world an undeniable proof and convincing 
evidence of his godhead : for. Who can 
forgive sins, but God only ? 

7 And he arose, and departed to 
his house. 8. But when the multi- 
tude saw it, they marvelled, and 
glorified God, which had given such 
power unto men. 

Note here. The multitude marvelled, but 
not believed ; they admire our Saviour for 
an extraordinary man, but did not believe 
in him as the Son of God : they praise God 
for giving such power to heal the bodies of 
men : but not for sending his Son into the 
world, to save the souls of men. Learn 
hence. That the sight of Christ's miracles 
is not sufficient to work faith in the soul, 
but requires the concurring operation of the 
Holy Spirit 5 the one may make us marvel, 
the other must make us believe. 

9 And as Jesus passed forth from 
thence, he saw a man, named Mat- 
thew, sitting at the receipt of cus- 
tom : and he saith unto him, Follow 
me. And he arose, and followed 
him. 

Observe here, the number of our Lord's 
apostles not being filled up, what a strange 
election and choice he makes ; Matthew, a 
grinding publican, is the man. Learn, 
Sucli is the freeness of God's grace, that it 
chooses, and such is the efficacy of it, that it 
overpowers and brings in, the worst of 
sinners unto God : Matthew a publican, 
Zaccheus an extortioner, Manasseh a mur- 
derer, Paul a persecutor ; all these are 
brought home to God by the power of 
converting grace. Observe, 2. Matthew's 
ready compliance with God's call, Jle arose 
and folio-wed Christ. When the inward 
call of the Spirit accompanies the outward 
call of the word, the soul readily complies, 
and presently yields obedience to the voice 
of God. Christ oft-times speaks by his 
word to our ears, and we hear not, we stir 
not ; but when he speaks by his Spirit to 
our hearts, Satan shall not hold us dowm, 
the world shall not keep us back, but we 
shall arise, and follow our Lord and Master 
Up. Hall. 



42 



ST. IVIATTHEW. 



Chap. IX. 



10 And it came to pass, as Jesus 
sat at meat in the house, behold, many 
publicans and sinners came and sat 
down with him and his disciples. 

Observe here, Christ invited Matthew to 
a discipleship, Matthew invites Christ to a 
feast ; the servant invites his Master, a sin- 
ner invites his Saviour. We do not find, 
wherever Cluist was invited to any table, 
that he refused to go ; if a Pharisee, if a 
publican invited, he constantly went : not 
for the pleasure of eating, but for the op- 
portunity of conversing and doing good : 
Christ feasts us, when we feast him. From 
Matthew's example, learn. That new con- 
verts are full of affection towards Christ, 
and very expressive of their love unto him. 
Such as before conversion disesteemed him, 
do afterwards kindly and respectfully enter- 
tain him : Matthew, touched with a sense of 
Christ's rich love, makes him a royal feast. 
Observe farther, How at this feast many 
publicans and sinners were present, of Mat- 
thew's acquaintance no doubt, and proba- 
bly invited by him, that they might also 
see Christ, and be partakers of the same 
grace with him. Whence we learn. That 
grace teaches a man to desire and seek the 
conversion of others ; and such as are 
truly brought home to Christ themselves, 
will study and endeavour to bring in all 
their acquaintance to Christ also. 

11 And when the Pharisees saw 
it, they said unto his disciples, Why 
eateth your Master with publicans 
and sinners > 

See here, what a grief it is to wicked men 
to iiud others brought in to Christ ; the 
wicked Pharisees mupnur, repine, and envy, 
instead of admiring Christ's condescension, 
and adoring his divine goodness : they 
censure him for conversing with sinners ; 
but Christ tells them ia the following 
verses, that he conversed with them as theic 
Physician, not as their Companion. 

12 But when .Tesus heard that, he 
said unto them. They that be whole 
need not a phvsician, but they that 
are sick. 1.3 But ^o ye and learn 
what that mcaneth, I will have mer- 
cy, and not sacrifice : for I am not 
come to call the righteous, but sin- 
ners to repentance. 

As if our Lord had said, " With whom 
should the physician converse, but with his 
sick patients > Now T am come into the 



world to do tlie office of a kind physician 
unto men ; surely then 1 am to take all op- 
portunities to help and heal them : they 
that are sick need the physician ; but for 
you Pharisees, who are whole and well in 
your own opinion, and swelled with a 
conceit of your own righteousness, I have 
no hopes of doing any good upon you ; for 
such as think themselves whole, desire no 
physician's help." Learn hence, 1. That 
sin is the soul's malady, its spiritual disease 
and sickness. 2. That Christ is the Physi- 
cian appointed by God, for the cure and 
healing of this disease and malady. 3. 
That there are multitudes spiritually sick, 
who yet think themselves sound and whole. 
3. That only such as are sensible of their 
spiritual sickness, are subjects capable of 
cure, and the persons whom Christ is a 
healing Physician to : T/iejy that are whole 
need not a physician, but they that are sick. 

14 Then came to him the disci- 
ples of John, saying.Why do Ave and 
the Pharisees fast oft, but thy dis- 
ciples fast not ? 15 And Jesus said 
unto them. Can the children of the 
bride-chamber mourn, as long as the 
bridegroom is with them > but the 
days will come, when the bridegroom 
shall be taken from them, and then 
shall they fast. 16 No man putteth 
a piece of new cloth unto an old gar- 
ment ; for that which is put in to fill 
it up taketh from the garment, and 
the rent is made worse. 17 Neither 
do men put new wine into old bot- 
tles ; else the bottles break, and the 
wine runneth out, and the bottles 
perish : but they put new wine into 
new bottles, and both are preserved. 

The Pharisees themselves had a conten- 
tion with our Saviour in the foregoing ver- 
ses ; here they set on the disciples of John, 
to contend with him about lasting, alleging 
that the disciples of John fasted often, 
Christ's disciples not at all. Our Saviour 
owns it, that his disciples did not fast at 
present, for two reasons. 1 . Because it was 
unsuitable to them. 2. Because it was in- 
tolerable for them. It was imsuitable to 
them, because of Christ's bodily presence 
with them ; this made it a time of joy and 
feasting, not of mourning and fasting : 
whilst Christ the Bridegroom is with them, 
they must feast and rejoice ; when removed 
from them, there will be cause enough to 



Chap. IX. 



ST. MATTHEW, 



43 



fast and mourn. Christ is the bridegroom 
and his church the bride, which he has es- 
poused and married to himseU' ; and whilst 
his spousedid enjoy his bodily presence with 
her, it M'asa day ol' joy and rejoicing to her, 
and mourning and fasting was improper for 
her. Again, this disciphne of fasting was at 
present mtolerablefor the disciples ; for they 
were raw, green, and tender, and could no 
more bear the severities of religion at present, 
than an old garment could bear a piece of 
new stiff cloth to be set into it, which will 
make the rent worse, if the garment comes 
to a stretch ; nor no more than old bottles 
can keep new wine. Thus, says Christ, my 
disciples are young and green, tender and 
weak, newly converted, they cannot beai" 
the severer exercises of religion presently ; 
but when I am ascended into heaven, I will 
send down my Holy Spirit, which shall en- 
able them to do all the duties which the 
gospel enjoins. Hence we may gather, 
That young converts, till grown up to some 
consistency in grace, must not be put upon 
the severer exercises of religion ; but han- 
dled with that tenderness and gentleness 
which becomes the mild and merciful dis- 
pensation of the gospel. Our Saviour here 
commends prudence to his ministers ; that 
they put not their people upon duties beyond 
their strength, but consult their progress in 
Christianity, and the proficiency they have 
made in religion, and treat them accordingly. 

18 While he spake these things 
unto thera, behold, there came a 
certain ruler and worshipped him, 
saying, My daughter is even now 
dead : but come and lay thy hand 
upon her, and she shall live. 19 
And Jesns arose and followed him, 
and so did his disciples. 

Observe the humble postm-e in which 
this man came unto Christ, namely, falling 
at his foot and worshipping him ; which was 
not only a sign of lender atTection towards 
nis daughter, but an evidence of his faith in 
our blessed Saviour; yet his confining 
Christ's power to his bodily presence and 
to the touch of his hand, was a token of 
the weakness of his faith : Come, says he, 
ondlay thine hand upon her, and she shall 
live. As if Christ could not have cured her, 
without either coming to her, or laying his 
hand upon her. Note here. That although 
all that come to Christ are not alike strong 
in faith, yet our blessed Redeemer refuses 
none that come unto him with a sincere 



faith, though in much weakness of faith. 
Jesus arose, and follov:ed him. 

20 (And, behold, a woman, which 
was diseased with an issue of blood 
twelve years, can)e behind him, and 
touched the hem of his garment : 21 
For she said within herself, If I may 
but touch his garment, I shall be 
whole. 22 But Jesus turned him 
about ; and when he saw her, he 
said, Daughter, be of good comfort; 
thy faith had made thee whole. 
And the woman was made whole 
from that hour.") 

Wliile Christ is on his way to the ruler's 
house, a diseased woman comes behind 
him, touches his garment, and is instantly 
healed ; the virtue lay, not in her finger, but 
in her faith ; or rather in Christ, which her 
faith ifistrumentally drew forth. Observe 
here. How faith oft-times meets with a sweeter 
welcome than it could expect. This poor 
woman came to Christ trembling, but went 
away triumphing j Christ bids her be of 
good comfort, thy faith hath made thee 
•whole. 

23 And when Jesus came into the 
ruler's house, and saw the minstrels 
and the people making a noise, 24 
He said unto them. Give place ; for 
the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. 
And they laughed him to scorn. 25 
But when the people were put forth, 
he went in, and took her by the hand, 
and the maid arose. 26 And the 
fame hereof went abroad into all that 
land. 

Our Saviour being come to the ruler's 
house, finds the people very busy preparing 
for the interment of the dead corpse, with 
music and other solemnities. This custom 
of having music at funerals came from the 
heathens ; no mention is made thereof in 
the Old Testament : we read of tearing the 
flesh, shaving the head, eating the bread of 
mourners, also of funeral songs, but these 
were only sung with the voice ; but instru- 
ments of music at funerals came from the 
Pagans. Weeping and lamentation are the 
most proper funeral music ; then nothing 
sounds so well as a sigh, nor is any thing 
so much in season as a tear : yet are all 
demonstrations of immoderate and exces- 
sive mourning both hurtful to the living 
and dishonourable to the dead ; nor is it an 



44 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. IX. 



argument of more love, but an evidence of 
less grace. Observe next, In what sense 
our Saviour affirms, that the damsel xoas 
not dead. Mortua est vobis, mih'i donnit, 
says St. Jerome ; She is dead to you, but 
asleep to mc : I can as easily raise her 
from death, as you can awake her out of 
sleep. Her soul was separated from her 
body, but not yet fixed in its eternal man- 
sion. Souls departed are under the conduct 
ol angels, good or bad, to their several 
places of bliss or misery. Probably the 
soul of this damsel was under the guard of 
angels near hei dead body, waiting the 
pleasure of Clirist in reference to it ; either 
to restore it again to the body, or to trans- 
late it to its eternal mansion. Note here, 
That from these words of our Saviour, the 
maid is 7iot dead, but sleepeth, the Jesuits 
plead for their doctrine of equivocations 
and mental reservations, alleging, that when 
Christ said, she is not dead, he reserved in his 
mind, in respect of my power. But the 
words of Christ were plainly spoken to those 
who wert preparing for her interment and 
funeral rites, and accordingly only intimate, 
that she was not so dead as that they need- 
ed to make these preparations, he being 
come to awake her as out of sleep. 

27 And when Jesus departed 
thence, two blind men followed him, 
crying, and saying, Thou son of Da- 
vid, have mercy on us. 28 And 
when he was come into the house, 
the blind men came to him : and 
Jesus saith unto them. Believe ye 
that I am able to do this > They said 
unto him. Yea, Lord. 29 Then 
touched he their eyes, saying, Ac- 
cording to your faith be it unto vou. 

30 And their eyes were opened : 
and Jesus straitly charged them, 
saying. See that no man know it. 

31 But they, when they were de- 
parted, spread abroad his fame in 
all that country. 

The ruler, and others who came to Christ 
for cure and healing, believed him to be a 
man unto whom Almighty God had com- 
municated divine power. But it is observa- 
ble, that these poor blind men did believe 
him to be the Messias, by their calling him 
the Son of David ; and according to their 
faith, so was their success : their faith capa- 
citated them for a cure. But why did our 
Lord enjoin the blind men silence, and 



straitly charge them to tell no man of the 
cure ? Herein the great modesty and hu- 
mility of Clirist appeared, in avoidmg all 
ostentation and commendation ; as also a 
due care of his own safety, lest the publish- 
ing of liis miracles should create him un- 
timely danger from the Pharisees. 

32 As they went out, behold, 
they brought to hira a dumb man 
possessed with a devil. 33 And 
when the devil was cast out, the 
dumb spake : and the multitudes 
marvelled, saying, It was never so 
seen in Israel. 

Still our Lord goes about doing good ; 
before, he healed the diseased, here he helps 
the possessed. Learn, 1. That amongst 
the many calamities which sin has rendered 
human nature liable and obnoxious to, this 
is one, to be bodily possest by Satan. This 
man's dumbness was caused by the devil's 
possession. Learn, 2. That one demon- 
stration of Christ's divine power, and a 
convincing evidence of his being truly and 
really God, was, his casting out devils by 
the word of his power. 

34 But the Pharisees said. He 
casteth out devils through the prince 
of the devils. 

See here the dreadful and sad effects of 
blindness, obstinacy and malice 5 the Pha- 
risees charge Christ with making a contract 
with the devil, affirming that he derived his 
power from him ; but how unlikely was 
this, that Satan should lend oiu- Saviour a 
power against himself, and for the destruc- 
tion of his own kingdom ? O how dan- 
gerous is a wilful and obstinate opposition 
of the truth ! It provokes God to deliver a 
person up to final obduracy. 

35 And Jesus went about all the 
cities and villages, teaching in their 
synagogues, and preaching the gos- 
pel of the kingdom, and healing 
every sickness and every disease 
among the people. 36 But when 
he saw the multitudes, he was moved 
with compassion on them, because 
they fainted, and w^re scattered 
abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. 

Observe here, 1. Our Saviour's great 
work and business in this world ; it was 
doing good both to the bodies and souls of 
men ; the most pleeisant and delightful, the 
most happy and glorious work that a per- 



Chap. X. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



45 



son can be employed about. 2. His un- 
wearied diligence and industry, in this 
great and good work ; He went about all 
the cities and villages, preaching the gos- 
pel, arid healing diseases : he travelled from 
place to place, to seek occasions, and to lay 
hold upon all opportunities, of being useful 
and beneficial to mankind. Observe, 3. The 
particular instance of our Lord's goodness 
and compassion towards the people in those 
cities and villages where he travelled : they 
wanted the preaching of the gospel, that is, 
faithful dispensers of it. For though they 
had the scribes and Pharisees to teach them, 
they instructed them rather in their own 
traditions than in the simplicity of the gos- 
pel ; Christ pities the people as sheep with- 
out a shepherd. Thence learn. That idle 
and lazy, unskilful and unfaithful, labourers 
in Christ's harvest, are no labourers in his 
account. They were as sheep having no 
shepherd. He who doth not instruct his 
flock, and feed them with the sincere milk 
of the word, from a heart full of love to God 
and of compassion to souls, deserves not 
the name of a true shepherd. Dr. Whitby . 

37 Thensaith he unto his disciples, 
The harvest truly is plenteous, but 
the labourers are few : 38 Pray ye 
therefore the Lord of the harvest, 
that he will send forth labourers 
into his harvest. 

As if Christ had said, " There is a great 
number of people that are willing and pre- 
pared to receive instructions, but there are 
but few who are able to instruct these poor 
people in the ways of righteousness and 
truth ; therefore pray and plead with God, 
that he would provide skilful and faithful 
ministers to be sent out to preach the gospel 
throughout the world." Note here, 1. 
That God's church is an harvest-field. 2. 
That the ministers of God are labourers in 
his harvest, under God, the Lord of the har- 
vest. 3. That to God alone doth it belong 
to send forth labourers into his harvest ; and 
none must thrust themselves in, till God 
sends them forth. 4. That the number of 
faithful labourers in God's harvest is com- 
paratively small and few. 5. That it is the 
church's duty to pray, and that earnestly 
and incessantly, to the Lord of the harvest, 
to increase the number of faithful labourers, 
and also to increase their faithfulness. 
CHAP. X. 

This chapter acquaints us with the first commission 
which our Saviour gave his disciples to preach the 
ffospel : he directs them, First, Whither to go, and 
to whom to preach ; namely, to the Jews, whom 



he calls llie lost sheep of the /louse of Israel. He 
instructs them. Secondly, As to the doctrine he 
would have them preach : namely, the doctrine of 
repentance. And, lastly, he arms them against all 
the difficulties they might meet with in their mi. 
nistry; and particularly fortifies thera against the 
fears of poverty and persecution. 

A ND when he had called unio him 
his twelve disciples, he gave 
them power against unclean spirits, 
to cast them out, and to heal all 
manner of sickness and all manner 
of disease. 

As the Jewish church arose from twelve 
patriarchs, so did the christian church be- 
come planted by twelve apostles ; the per- 
son commissionating them, was Christ. 
None are to undertake the work and calling 
of the ministry, but those whom Christ ap- 
points ; and the persons commissioned 
were disciples before they were apostles. 
To teach us, that Christ will have such as 
preach the gospel tobe disciples before they 
are ministers ; trained up in the doctrine of 
the gospel, before they imdertake a public 
charge. Note farther. The power here 
delegated by Christ to his apostles, over un- 
clean spirits, and for healing diseases, in his 
name. And after Christ's resurrection, 
they were enabled to confer this miraculous 
power upon others, by laying their hands 
upon them ; an eminent demonstration of 
the truth of the christian faith. Learn 
hence, That to the intent the apostles might 
preach the gospel with more authority and 
greater efficacy, Christ gave them a power 
of working miracles ; namely, to cast out 
devils, and heal all manner of diseases, in 
his name. When he had called together 
his disciples, he gave them power against 
unclean spirits. 

2 Now the names of the twelve 
apostles are these : The first Simon, 
who is called Peter, and Andrew 
his brother : James the son of Zebe- 
dee, and John his brother ; 3 Philip, 
and Bartholomew ; Thomas, and 
Matthew the publican ; James the 
son of Alpheus ; and Lebbeus, whose 
surname was Thaddeus ; 4 Simon 
the Canaanite ; and Judas Iscariot, 
who also betrayed him. 

Observe here, Of the twelve aposties 
Peter is named first, and Judas last. Peter 
is named first, because first called, Matt, iv. 
18. or because probably elder than the rest; 
or because, for order- sake, he might speak 
before the rest : from whence may be in- 



4a 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Ciiap. X. 



ferred a primacy, but no supremacy ; a 
priority of order, but no superiority of de- 
gree. As the foreman of a grand inquest 
has a precedency, but no pre-eminency. 
Judas is named last, with a brand of infamy 
set upon him, that he was the traitor, the 
person that betrayed his Lord and Master. 
Learn hence. That though the tmth of 
grace be absolutely necessary to a minister's 
salvation, yet the want of it dofh not disan- 
nul his office, nor hinder the lawfulness of 
his ministry : Judas, though a traitor, was 
yet a lawful minister. Inward holiness is 
not necessary to render the offices belong- 
ing to the ministerial function valid and ef- 
fectual : Judas preaches Christ as well as 
the rest, and was not excepted when Christ 
said. He that receiveth you, receiveth me. 

5 These twelve Jesus sent forth, 
and commanded them, saying, Go 
not into the way of the Gentiles, and 
into any city of the Samaritans en- 
ter ye not : 6 But go rather to the 
lost sheep of the house of Israel, 

This was only a temporary prohibition, 
whilst Christ was here upon earth, the Jews 
being Christ's own people, of whom he 
came, and to whom he was promised ; the 
gospel is first preached to fliem ; but after- 
wards the aposdes had a command to teach 
all nations ; and after Christ's ascension, 
Samaria received the gospel by the preaching 
of Philip. From the character wfiich Christ 
gives of the Jews, calling them lost sheep, 
we learn, 1. That the condition of a people, 
before brought home to Christ by the mi- 
nisters of the gospel, is a lost condition ; sin- 
nei-s are as lost sheep, wandering and going 
astray from God, till the ministry of the 
word finds them. 2. That the great work 
and office of the ministers of the gospel is to 
call home, and to bring in, lost sheep imto 
Jesus Christ the great Shepherd. Go, says 
he, to the lost sheep, Sfc. Mark, Christ 
calls the Israelites sheep, though they were 
not obedient to the voice of their Shepherd, 
oecause they were God's chosen people; 
and he calls them the lost sheep, because 
they were both lost in themselves, and also 
in great danger of being eventually and 
finally lost, by the ignorance and wicked- 
ness of their spiritual guides. 

7 And, as ye go, preach, saying, 
The kingdom of heaven is at hand. 

Observe here, 1. The duty enjoined the 
apostles in order to the bringing home of 
lost souls to Christ, and that is, preaching ; 



As ye go, preach. Note thence. That the 
plain and persuasive preaching of the gos- 
pel, is the special mean appointed by Christ 
for the salvation of lost sinners. Observe, 
2. The doctrine they are enjoined to preach, 
namely, that the kingdom of heaven ts at 
hand ; that is, that "the promised Messias 
was come, and had set up his kingdom in 
the world, and expected their obedience to 
his laws. Where note. How that the 
preaching of John, of Christ, and his apos- 
tles, was one and the same ; namely, the 
doctrine of repentance : repent, say thay 
a\\,for the kingdom of heaven is at hand ; 
that is, the time of the Messiah's appearing, 
which has been so long expected, is now 
come. 

8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, 
raise the dead, cast out devils : free- 
ly ye have received, freely give. 

Here our Saviour empowers his apostles 
to work miracles for the confirmation of 
their doctrine ; but gives them a charge to 
work them freely, without making any pr.- 
vate advantage to themselves. Where ob- 
serve, 1. How beneficial the miracles were 
(which Christ and his apostles wrought) to 
mankind. Moses' miracles were as great 
judgments as wonders ; but these v/ere be- 
neficent, they delivered men from miseries, 
from bodily diseases, from the power and 
malice of evil spirits; they healed the sick, 
and cast out devils. Observe, 2. That Je- 
sus Christ, to show himself a free Saviour, 
and that whatever came from him was the 
effect of free grace, gave his apostles a 
charge to dispense their power in working 
miracles freely, without money, and with- 
out price. 

9 Provide neither gold, nor silver, 
nor brass, in your purses : 10 Nor 
scrip for your journey, neither two 
coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves : 
for the workman is worthy of his 
meat. 

This command of Christ was temporary, 
and extended only to the apostles' first 
journey, which they were soon to despatch : 
our Saviour encourages them to trust to 
God ; first for protection ; take no staves 
with you, that is, no striking or smiting 
staves for your own defence. Preachers 
must be no strikers, though a wrJking-stafF 
they might take with them : itinerant 
preachers might be wearied with travelling, 
as well as with speaking. Next for provi- 
sion ; he would not have them over-solici- 



Cliap. X. 



ST. xMATTHEW. 



47 



tons for that neither ; saying, the "workman 
is -isorthif of his meat. As it is a minister's 
great duty to trust God for his maintenance ; 
so it is the people's duty to take care for 
the minister's comfortable subsistence. The 
labourer is -worthy of his hire, and the 
workman is -worthy of his ineat. 

11 And into whatsoever city or 
town ye shall enter, enquire who in it 
is worthy ; and there abide till ye g;o 
thence. 12 And when ye come into 
an house, salute it. 13 And if the 
house be worthy, let your peace come 
upon it : but if it be not worthy, let 
your peace return to you. 14 And 
whosoever shall not receive you, nor 
hear your words, when ye depart out 
of that house or city, shake off the 
dust of your feet. 15 Verily I say 
unto you, It shall be more tolerable 
for the land of Sodom and Gomor- 
rha in the day of judgment than for 
that city. 

Our Saviour proceeds to direct his disci- 
ples how to manage this their first journey 
in preaching the gospel : he enjoins them, 
1. To observe the rules of decency in their 
going from one place to another ; not like 
beggars wandering from house to house, 
but having entered a city, or village, to make 
inquiry who stood best affected to the gos- 
pel, and there turn in. 2. Our Saviour 
enjoins them civil and religious courtesy 
towards those whom they applied them- 
selves unto. When ye come into a house, 
salute it ; give it a civil salutation, but es- 
pecially a cliristian and spiritual salute, 
wishing them mercy, grace, and peace. 3. 
He encourages his apostles in the want of 
success; if they hear you not, shake off the 
dust of your feet. This action wasemble- 
matical, and signified. That Almighty God 
would in like manner shake off them, and 
esteem them no better than the vilest dust. 
Note, That those who despise the message 
which the ministers of the gospel bring, 
shall hereafter find the dust of their feet, and 
the ashes of their graves, to give a judicial 
testimony against them in the day of Christ. 
Wherever the word is preached, 'tis for a 
testimony against them ; for if the dust of a 
minister's feet bear witness against the des- 
pisers of the gospel, their sermons much 
more. Here Grotius well notes, that the 
sin of those who reject the gospel must be 



a wilful siii, which it was in their power to 
avoid ; because it rendered them obnoxious 
to greater punishment than Sodom and 
Gomorrha were to suffer at the day of judg- 
ment ; and because committed against great- 
er light, and greater confimiation of the 
tnith : doubtless the higher a people rise 
under the means of grace, the lower they fall 
if they miscarry. 

16 Behold, I send you forth as 
sheep in the midst of wolves : be ye 
therefore wise as serpents, and 
harmless as doves. 

Our Saviour, in this and the following 
verses, arms his apostles against all the 
difficulties, dangers, and discouragements, 
which they might meet with in the course 
of their ministry : he tells them, he sent them 
forth as sheep amongst wolves ; intmiating 
thereby unto them, that the enemies of the 
gospel -have as great an inclination, from 
their malicious nature, to devour and de- 
stroy the ministers of Christ, as wolves have 
from their natural temper to devour sheep : 
he therefore recommends to them prudence 
and innocence ; be ye wise as serpents, to 
avoid the world's injuries, and harmless as 
doves, in not revenging them. The minis- 
ters of Christ must not be altogether doves, 
lest they fall into dangers ; nor altogether 
serpents, lest they endanger others. For as 
piety without policy is too simple to be safe, 
so policy without piety is too subtile to be 
good. Our Saviour in this text teaches us 
that wisdom and innocency should dwell 
together. Offend none by word or example. 

17 But beware of men : for they 
will deliver you up to the councils, 
and they will scourge you in their 
synagogues ; 18 And ye shall be 
brought before governors and kings 
for my sake, for a testimony against 
them and the Gentiles. 19 But 
when they deliver you up, take no 
thought how or what ye shall speak ; 
for it shall be given you in that same 
hour what ye shall speak. 20 For 
it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit 
of your Father which speaketh in you. 

Here our Saviour lets his apostles know, 
that for their owning him, and preaching 
his gospel, they should be brought before 
all sorts of magistrates, and in all kinds of 
courts : but he advises them, when they are 
brought before kings and princes, not to be 



48 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. X. 



anxiously thoughtful what they should say ; 
for it should be given them in thathour.what 
they should answer. Learn hence, That 
though truth may be opposed, yet truth's 
defenders should never be ashamed ; and 
rather than they shall want atongxietoplead 
for it, God himself will prompt Ihera by his 
Spirit, and suggest such truths to their minds 
as all their opposers should not be able to 
gainsay. Yet, note, That Christ doth not 
here forbid all fore-thoughts what to say, 
but only distrustful thoughts; that they 
should not, like orators or advocates, strive 
to make studied pleas or rhetorical apolo- 
gies for themselves, since the Spirit would 
be in their mouths, and give them immediate 
supplies. Note also, That because Christ 
here promised liis apostles an inmiediate 
assistance from the Holy Spirit, how vain 
the Anabaptists and Quakers are, who by 
virtue of tliis promise do now expect the 
same assistance in prayer and preaching : 
but they may as well pretend to cast out 
devils as the apostles did, by virtue of the 
same assistance which the apostles had ; 
whereas these extraordinary gilts have long 
ceased, 

21 And the brother shall deliver 
up the brother to death, and the 
father the child : and the children 
shall rise up against their parents, 
and cause them to be put to death. 
22 And ye shall be hated of all 
7nen for my name's sake ; but he 
that endureth to the end shall be 
saved. 

Our Saviour goes on in a farther discovery 
of the world's hatred and enmity against 
the gospel, and the preachers of it ; and 
gives all christians in general, and his mi- 
nisters in particular, to understand, that such 
is the enmity of the world against holiness, 
and the professors of it, tliat it will overcome 
and extinguish even the natural affections 
of the nearest and dearest relations towards" 
each other. Grace teaches us to lay down 
our lives for the brethren, but corruption 
teaches a brother to take away the life of a 
brother ; The brother shall deliver the bro- 
ther to death. Yet observe, Our Savioiu: 
comforts his disciples that there will be an 
end of these sufferings ; and assures them, 
that if their faith and patience did hold out 
unto the end, they should be saved. This 
is our comfort, that if our sufferings for 
Christ end not in our life-time, they will end 
with our lives. 



23 But when they persecute you 
in this city, flee ye into another: for 
verily I say unto you, Ye shall not 
have gone over the cities of Israel till 
the Son of man be come. 

Our Saviour here directs his apostles to a 
prudent care for their own preser\'ation, and 
allows them to flee in time of persecution ; 
assuring them, that before they had gone 
through all the cities of the Jews, preaching 
the gospel, he would certainly come in 
judgment against Jerusalem, and with 
severity destroy his own murderers and their 
persecutors. Learn, That Christ allows his 
ministers the liberty of flight in time of per- 
secution, that they may preserve their lives 
for future service. Surely it is no shame to 
fly, when our Captain commands it, and 
also practises it, Matt. ii. Christ by his 
own example has sanctified that state of life 
unto us, and by his command made it law- 
ful for us. 

24 The disciple is not above his 
master, nor the servant above his 
lord. 25 It is enough for the disci- 
ple that he be as his master, and the 
servant as his Lord. If they have 
called the master of the house Beel- 
zebub, how much more shall they call 
them of his household ? 

Our Saviour here teaches all christians, 
but especially ministers, how unreasonable 
and absurd it is for them to expect kinder 
usage from an unkind world than he liimself 
met witli. Are we greater, holier, or wiser 
than he ? Why then should we expect 
better usage then he ? Was he hated, per- 
secuted, reviled, murdered, for the holiness 
of his doctrine and the usefulness of his life? 
Why then should any of us think strange 
of the fiery trial, as if some strange thing 
had befallen them ? 1 Pet. iv 12. Is 'it 
notenough that the disciple be "i his mas- 
ter, and the servant as his lord, but must 
he hope to be above him ? 

26 Fear them not theretore : for 
there is nothing covered that shall 
not be revealed ; and hid, that shall 
not be known. 27 What I tell you 
in darkness, that speak ye in light: 
and what ye hear in the ear, that 
preach ye upon the house-tops. 

Christ here exhorts his disciples to a free 
profession and open publication of the doc- 
trine of the gospel, from this consideration. 



Chap. X. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



49 



that whatever they say or do shall be 
brought to light, proclaimed and published 
to the world. I will make the excellency 
of your doctrine and the innocency of your 
lives shine as the light ; your integrity in 
dispensing of it, and patience in suffering for 
it, shall redound to God's glory and your 
commendation, at the revelation of your 
Lord from heaven. As wicked men have 
cause to fear because their evil deeds shall 
be made evident, so good men have cause 
to rejoice because their goodness and good 
deeds shall be made manifest. Let it be our 
care to do good, and it shall be Christ's care 
to discover the goodness which we do, to 
vindicate it from misconstruction, and set it 
in its clearest light. 

28 And fear not them which kill 
the body, but are not able to kill the 
soul : but rather fear him which is 
able to destroy both soul and body 
in hell. 

Observe here the following particulars, 1. 
An unwarrantable fear condemned ; and 
that is, the sinful, servile, slavish fear of im- 
potent man : Fear not him that can kill the 
body. 2. An holy, awful, and prudential 
fear of the omnipotent God commended : 
Fear him that is able to kill both body and 
soul. 3. The persons that this duty of fear 
is recommended to and boimd upon — 
Christ's own disciples, yea, his ministers 
and ambassadors ; they both may and ought 
to fear him ; not only for his greatness and 
goodness, but upon the account of his pu- 
nitive justice ; as heva^ able to cast both soul 
and body into hell , such a fear is not only 
lawful, but laudable, not only commendable, 
out commanded, and well becomes the ser- 
vants of God themselves. This text contains 
a certain evidence that the soul doth not 
perish with the body ; none are able to kill 
the soul, but it continues after death in a 
state of sensibility ; it is granted that men 
can kill the body, but it is denied that they 
can kill the soul : it is spoken of temporal 
death ; consequently then the soul doth not 
perish with the body, nor is the soul reduced 
into an insensible state by the death of the 
body ; nor can the soul be supposed to sleep 
as the body doth till the resurrection ; for an 
intelligible, thinking, and perceiving being, 
as the soul is, cannot be deprived of sensa- 
tion, thought, and perception, any more than 
it can lose its being : the soul, after the 
death of tlie body, being capable of bliss 
or miser\', must continue in a state of sensa- 
tion. 



29 Are not two sparrows sold for 
a farthing ? and one of them shall 
not fall on the ground without your 
Father. 30 But the very hairs of 
your head are all numbered. 31 
Fear ye not therefore ; ye are of more 
value than many sparrows. 

Observe here, 1. The doctrine which 
our Saviour preaches to his disciples : and 
that is the doctrine of divine providence j 
which concerns itself for the meanest crea- 
tures: even the birds of the air, and the 
hairs of our head, do fall within the compass 
of God's protecting care. 2. Here is the 
use which our Saviour makes of this doctrine ; 
namely, to fortify the spirits of his disciples 
against all distrustful fears and distracting 
cares. Leam, That the consideration of the 
divine care and gracious providence of God 
over us and ours, ought to antidote our 
spirits against all distrustful fears whatsoever. 
If an hair from the head falls not to the ground 
without a providence, much less shSu the 
head itself; if the very excrements of the 
body, (such are the hairs,) be taken care of 
by God, surely the more noble parts of the 
body, and especially the noblest part of 
ourselves, our souk, shall fall under his 
particular regard. 

32 Whosoever therefore shall cont 
fess me before men, him will I confess 
also before my Father which is in 
heaven. 33 But whosoever shull 
deny me before men, him will I also 
deny before my Father which is in 
heaven. 

Observe here, 1. That not to confess 
Christ, in his account, is to deny him : and 
to deny him, is to be ashamed of him. 2. 
That whosoever shall deny, disown, or be 
ashamed of Christ, either in his person, in 
his gospel, or in his members, for any fear 
or favour of man, shall with shame be dis- 
owned, and eternally rejected by him at the 
dreadful judgment of the great day. Christ 
may be denied three ways ; doctrinally, by 
an erroneous and heretical judgment ; ver- 
bally, by oral expressions ; vitally, by a 
wicked and unholy life. But woe to that 
soul that denies Christ any of these ways ! 

34 Think not that I am come to 
send peace on earth : I came not to 
send peace, but a sword. 35 Fori 
am come to set a man at variance 
against his father, and the daughter 
against her mother, and the daughter 



50 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. X, 



in-law against her mother in-law. 
36 And a man's foes shall be they of 
his own household. 

We must distinguish herebetwLxt the in- 
tentional aim of Christ's coming, and the 
accidental event of it. His intentional aim 
was to propagate and promote peace in the 
world ; but through the corruption of man's 
nature, the accidental event of his coming 
is war and division : not that these are the 
genuine and natural fruits of the gospel, but 
occasional and accidental only. Note, 
That the preaching of the gospel, and set- 
ting up the kingdom of Christ in the world, 
though it be not the natural cause, yet it is 
the accidental occasion, of much of that war 
and tumult, of much of that distraction and 
confusion, which the world abounds with. 

37 He that loveth father or mother 
more than me is not worthy of me : 
and he that loveth son or daughter 
more than me is not worthy of me. 
38 And he that taketh not his cross, 
and followeth after me, is not worthy 
of me. 39 He that findeth his life 
shall lose it : and he that loseth his 
life for my sake shall find it. 

Note here. That by worthiness we are 
not to understand the meritoriousness of the 
action, but the qualification of the person. 
He that cometh to Christ, (that is, will be 
his disciple,) must, by a deliberate act of 
the understanding, and well-advised choice 
of the will, prefer him before all the world, 
and his dearest relations whatsoever ; not 
that our Saviour by these expressions doth 
condemn natural love and affection, either 
to our relations or our own lives, but only 
regulates and directs it ; and shows that our 
first and chief love must be bestowed upon 
himself. We may have tender and relent- 
ing affections towards our dear relations ; 
but then the consideration of Christ's truth 
and religion must take place of these ; yea, 
of life itself ; nay, when these come in 
competition, we are to regard them no more 
than if they were the objects of our hatred. 
Luke xiv. 26. If any man hate not his fa- 
ther, Sfc. Learn hence. That all the dis- 
ciples of Christ should be ready and willing, 
whenever God calls them to it, to quit all 
their temporal interests and enjoyments, 
even life itself, and to submit to any tem- 
poral inconvenience, even death itself ; and 
all this willingly, cheerfully, and patiently, 
rather than disown their relation to Christ, 
and (|uit the profession of his truth and re- 



ligion. 2. That such as for secular interest, 
and the preservation of temporal life, do 
renounce their profession of Christ and his 
religion, they do not only greatly hazard 
their temporal life, but expose their eternal 
life to the greatest danger. He that findeth 
his life shall lose it, Sfc. 

40 He that receiveth you, receiv- 
eth me ; and he that receiveth nie, 
receiveth him that sent me. 41 He 
that receiveth a prophet, in the name 
of a prophet, shall receive a prophet's 
reward ; and he that receiveth a 
righteous man, in the name of a right- 
eous man, shall I'eceive a righteous 
man's reward. 42 And whosoever 
shall give to drink unto one of these 
little ones a cup of cold tvater only 
in the name of a disciple, verily I 
say unto you. He shall tn no wise 
lose his reward. 

Here in the close of the chapter, our bless- 
ed Saviour encourages his apostles to faith- 
fulness in their office, by assuring them that 
he should reckon and esteem all the kind- 
ness shown to them as done unto himself: 
and to encourage the world to be kind tc 
his disciples and ministers, he assures them 
that even a cup of cold water should meet 
with a liberal reward. How cold is their 
charity who deny a cup of cold water to 
the ministers and disciples of Christ ! Learn, 
L That there is some special and eminent 
reward due to the faithful prophets of God 
above other men. 2. That he that shall 
entertain a prophet, and do any good office 
for him, under that name, that is, for his of- 
fice sake, shall be partaker of that reward. 
3. That the least office of love and respect, 
of kindness and charity, which we show to 
any of the ministers or members of Jesus 
Christ for his sake, Christ accounts it as done 
unto himself, and it shall be rewarded by 
himself 

CHAP. XI. 
A ND it came to pass, when Jesus 
-^ had made an end of command- 
ing his twelve disciples, he depart- 
ed thence, to teach and to preach in 
th( ir cities. 

Our blessed Saviour having sent forth his 
twelve apostles in the foregoing chapter, to 
plant and propagate the gospel, we find him 
in this chapter following them himself in that 
great and necessary work : he departed to 
tench and to preach in their cities. Christ, 



Chap. XI. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



51 



the great Bishop and Shepherd of souls, sent 
not forth the apostles as his curates, to la- 
bour and sweat in the vineyard, whilst he 
took his ease at home ; but he followed 
them himself; his word of command to 
them was, Preeite, sequar ; Go ye before, 
I tvillfotlov) after. Note, 1 . That preach- 
ing of the gospel is a great and necessary 
work, incumbent upon all the ministers of 
Christ, let their dignity and pre-emineucy 
in the church be what it will. None of the 
servants are above their Lord. 2. That if 
there be a distinction betwixt teaching and 
preaching,(as some apprehend, )they are both 
the work of Christ's ministers, who are oblig- 
ed from their Master's example to perform 
both : teaching is in order to the conversion 
of sinnei-s, and preaching in order to the 
edification of saints. 

2 Now when John had heard in 
the prison the works of Christ, he 
sent two of his disciples, 3 And 
said unto him, Art thou he that 
should corae, or do we look for ano- 
ther ? 

It was not for John's information that he 
sent his disciples to Jesus, but for their satis- 
faction, that he was the true and promised 
Messiah ; John was assured of it himself by 
a sign from heaven at our Saviour's baptism, 
chap. iii. 17. But John's disciples, out of 
great zeal to him their master, envied Christ 
himself, and were unwilling to believe any 
person greater than their master : therefore 
John, out of a pious design to confirm his 
disciples in their belief of Jesus being the 
true Messias, sends them to om- Saviour to 
hear the doctrine which he taught, and to 
see the miracles which he wrought. Learn 
hence, Vv''hat a pious desire there is in such 
as know Christ experimentally themselves, 
to bring all that belong to them to a saving 
acquaintance with him. Archbp. Tillotson, 
Vol. V. 

4 Jesus answered and said unto 
them. Go and shew John a^^ain those 
things which ye do hear and see : 5 
The blind receive their sight, and 
the lame walk, the lepers are cleans- 
ed, and the deaf hear, the dead are 
raised up, and the poor have the 
gospel preached to them. 

Obsen'e here, 1. The way and means 
which our Saviour takes for the conviction 
and satisfaction of John's disciples, that he 
was the true Messias : he appeals to the mi- 



racles wTOught by himself, and submits the 
miracles wrought by him to the judgment of 
their sense ; Go mid shoio John the mira- 
cles ivhich you hear and see. Observe, 2 
The miracles themselves ; The blind 7'e- 
ceive their sight, the lame tvalk, the deaf 
hear, 8fc. Christ was all this in a literal 
sense, and in a mystical sense also ; he was 
an eye of understanding to the ignorant, a 
foot of power to the weak ; he opened an 
ear in deaf hearts to receive the word of life ; 
and the poor are evangelized, that is, turn- 
ed into the spirit and temper of the gospel ; 
the rich hear the gospel, but the poor re- 
ceive it, that is, they ieel the powerful im- 
pressions of it ; as we say, such a one is 
Italianized, when his carriage is such as if 
he were a natural Italian. The passive 
verb EyafvEX/^ovTa/ denotes, nan actum 
predicationis, sed affectum cvangelii pre- 
dicati; the good effect which the gospel 
had upon the hearts and lives of the poor, 
transforming them mto the likeness of itself. 
Learn, It is a blessed thing, when the 
preaching of the gospel has such a powerful 
influence upon the minds of men, that the 
temper of their minds and the actions of 
their lives are a lively transcript of the 
spirit and temper of the holy Jesus. Note, 
That as it was prophesied of the Messias, 
that he should preach the gospel to the 
poor, Isa. Ixi. 1. accordingly they were the 
poor with whom Christ preached unto ; for 
the Pharisees and rabbles neglected them 
as the people of the earth, John vii. 49. 
And Grotius says that they had a proverb, 
That the Spirit of God never rests but upon 
a rich man. Besides, the Pharisees' and 
rabbles' doctrines, which they preached, 
were vain traditions, allegorical interpreta- 
tions, and cabali^ical deductions, which 
transcended the capacities of the vulgar, so 
that they could profit very little by repair- 
ing to their schools and by hearing their 
interpretations of the law ; and therefore 
our Saviour, in the close of this chapter, 
calls the people off from them to learn of 
him, ver. 28. Come unto me, Sfc. 

6 And blessed is he, whosoever 
shall not be offended in me. 

Our Saviour here, by pronouncing them 
blessed that are not offended in him, doth 
intimate the misery of those who stumble at 
him, and to whom he is the Rock of offence. 
Some are offended at the poverty of his per- 
son, others are offended at the sublimity 
and sanctity of his doctrine. Some arc of- 
fended at his cross, others are offended at 
E 2 



62 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. XI. 



his free grace ; but such as, instead of being 
offended at Christ, beheve in him, and bot- 
tom their expectations of heaven and salva- 
tion upon him, are in a happy and blessed 
condition : blessed is he that shall not be 
offended in me. 

7 And, as they departed, Jesus 
began to say unto the multitudes 
concerning John, What went ye out 
into the wilderness to see ? a reed 
shaken with the wind ? 8 But what 
went ye out for to see ? a man 
clothed in soft raiment ? Behold, 
they that wear soft clothing are in 
kings' houses. 6 But what went ye 
out for to see ? a prophet ? yea, 1 
say unto you, and more than a pro- 
phet. 10 For this is he ofwhom it is 
written, Behold, I send my messenger 
before thy face, which shall prepare 
thy way before thee. 

Our Saviour having given satisfaction to 
John's disciples, next enters upon a large 
commendation of John himself. Where ob- 
serve, 1 . The persons whom he commended 
him before ; not John's own disciples, for 
they had too high an opinion of their mas- 
ter already, and were so nKtdi addicted to 
John that they envied Christ for his sake ; 
see John iii. 26. Behold, Christ baptizeth, 
and all men come unto him. It was a great 
eye-sore that Christ had more hearers and 
followers than John ; therefore not before 
John's disciples but before the multitude, 
Christ commends John ; for as John's dis- 
ciples had too high, so the multitude had 
too low, an opinion of him ; possibly be- 
cause of his imprisonment and sufferings. 
There was a time when the people had high 
thoughts of John, but now they undervalued 
him. Learn thence, The great uncertainty 
of poplular applause : the people contemn 
to-day whom they admired yesterday ; he, 
who to day is cried up, to-morrow is trod- 
den down. The word and the ministers are 
the same ; but this proceeds from the fickle- 
ness and inconstancy of the people : no- 
thing is so mutable as the mind of man, no- 
thing so variable as the opinion of the mul- 
titude. Observe, 2. The time when our 
Saviour thus commended John ; not in the 
time of his prosperity and greatness, when 
the people flocked after him, and Herod got 
him to court and reverenced him ; but 
when the giddy multitude had forsaken him, 
and he w;is fallen into disgrace at court, and 



had preached himself into prison : now 
Christ vindicates his innocency, maintains 
his houoiu-, proclaims his worth, and tells 
the people that the world was not worthy 
of such a preacher as John was. Learn 
thence, That Christ will stand by, and stick 
fast to, his faithful ministers, when all the 
world forsake them. Let the world slight 
and despise them at their pleasm-e, yet Christ 
.will maintain their honour, and support 
their cause ; as they bear a faithful witness 
to Christ, so Christ will bear witness to their 
faithfulness for him. Observe, 2. The 
commendation itself. Our Saviour com- 
mends John, L For his constancy ; he was 
not a reed shaken with the wind ; that is, 
a man of an unstable and misettled judg- 
ment, but fixed and stedfast. 2. For his 
sobriety and high measure of mortification : 
he was no delicate, voluptuous person, but 
grave, sober, and severe ; he was mortified 
to the glory and honour, to the ease and 
pleasures, of the world. John wrought no 
miracles ; but his holy conversation was as 
effectual as miracles to prevail with the peo- 
ple. 3. For his humility : he might have 
been what he would : the people were rea- 
dy to cry him up for the Messiah, the Christ 
of God : but John's lowly spirit refuses all ; 
he confessed, and denied not, saying, I am 
not the Christ, but a poor minister of his, 
willing, but not woTthy, to do him sei-vice. 
This will commend our ministry to the 
consciences of our people, when we seek not 
our own glory, but the glory of Christ. 4. 
Our Saviour commends John for his clear 
preaching and revealing of Christ to the 
people : he was more than a prophet, ver. 
9. because he pointed out Christ more 
clearly and fully than any before him. The 
ancient prophets saw Christ afar off; John 
beheld him face to face : they prophesied 
of him ; he pointed at him, saying, This is 
he. Whence learn, That the clearer any 
ministry is in discovering of Christ, the 
more excellent it is. 

11 Verily I say unto you, Amono," 
them that are born of women, there 
hath not risen a greater than John 
the Baptist : notwithstandino;, ho 
that is least in the kingdom of hea- 
ven is greater than he. 

Our Saviour having highly commended 
John in the foregoing verses, here he sets 
bounds to the honours of his ministry, 
adding. That though John was greater than 
all the prophets that went before him, 
seeing more of Christ than all of them, yet 



Chap. XI. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



53 



he saw less than them that came after him. 
The meanest evangehcal minister that 
preaches Christ come, is to be preferred 
before all the old prophets, who prophesied 
of Christ to come. That minister who 
sets forth the life, death, resurrection, and 
ascension of Jesus Christ, is greater in the 
kingdom of heaven, that is, has an higher 
office in the church, and a more excellent 
ministry, than all the prophets, yea, than 
John himself. The excellency of a ministry 
consists in the light and clearness of it. 
Now though John's light did exceed all that 
went before him, yet it fell short of them 
that came after hiin : and thus he that was 
least in the kingdom of grace on earth, 
much more he that is least in the 
kingdom of glory in heaven, was greater 
than John. Not that the meanest christian, 
but the meanest evangelical prophet, or 
preacher of the christian doctrine, is greater 
than John ; partly in respect of his doctrine, 
which is more spiritual and heavenly ; part- 
ly in respect of his office, which was to 
preach Christ crucified and risen again ; 
and partly in respect of divine assistance, 
for John did no miracle, but the apostles 
that succeeded him xoent forth, the Lord 
■worhina: with them, and confirming the 
•word with signs following. Add to this, 
that the Holy Ghost fell not upon John, and 
he spake not by any extraordinary inspira- 
tion of the Holy Spirit sent down from 
heaven, as the apostles did ; and thus he 
that was least in the kingdom of heaven 
was greater than John. 

12 And from the days of John the 
Baptist until now, the kingdom of 
heaven suffereth violence, and the 
violent take it by force. 

Our Saviour goes on in commending John's 
ministry from the great success of it : it had 
that powerful influence upon the consciences 
of men, that no soldiers were ever more 
violent and eager in the storming and 
taking a strong hold, than John's hearers 
were in pursuing the kingdom of heaven. 
Never any minister (before) discovered the 
Messiah and his kingdom so clearly as John 
did; and therefore never was there such 
zeal to press into the kingdom of heaven 
amongst any, as the hearers of John had. 
Learn hence, 1. That the clearer knowledge 
any people have of the worth and excel- 
lency of heaven, the more will their zeal 
be inflamed in the pursuit of heaven. 2. 
That all that do intend and resolve for 
heaven must offer violence in the taking of 



it ; none but the violent are victorious ; they 
take it by force. Which words are both 
restrictive and promissive. They are the 
violent and none other, that take it ; and all 
the violent shall take'' it. Though careless 
endeavours may prove abortive, vigorous 
prosecution shall not miscarry. There is 
also another exposition of these words ; the 
violent take the kingdom of heaven by 
force ; that is, the publicans and sinners, 
and poorer sort of people, who were well 
looked upon by the scribes and Pharisees 
as persons who had no right to the blessings 
of the Messiah ; these, as violent invaders 
and bold intruders, embrace the gospel, and 
do as it were take it by force from the 
learned rabbies, who challenge the chief- 
est place in this kingdom : and accord- 
ingly our Saviour tells them, St. Malt. 
xxi. 3 1 . The publicans and harlots go into 
the kingdom of God before you ; for you 
believed -not John's coming to you in the 
way of righteousness, but the publicans 
and harlots believed him, when at the 
same time the Pharisees and lawyers 
rejected, &c. being not baptized of him. 

13 For all the prophets and the 
law prophesied until John. 14 And 
if ye will receive it, this is Elias, 
which was for to come. 15 He that 
hath ears to hear, let him hear. 

Here is still a farther commendation of 
John. The law and the prophets till the 
coming of John did foretell the Messiah, 
but not so determinately, not so nearly, 
not so clearly, as John did : and accord- 
ingly, he was that Elias which Isaias and 
Malachi foretold should be the harbinger 
and forerunner of Christ. But why hath 
John the Baptist the name of Elias ? 
Possibly because they were alike zealous in 
the work of God ; they were alike successful 
in that work ; and they were alike perse- 
cuted for their work ; the one by Jezebel, 
the other by Herodias. 

16 But whereunto shall I liken 
this generation ? It is like unto 
children sitting in the markets, and 
calling unto their fellows, 17 And 
saying, We have piped unto you, 
and ye have not danced ; we have 
mourned unto you, and ye have not 
lamented. 18 For John came nei- 
ther eating nor drinking ; and they 
say. He hath a devil. 19 The Son 
of man came eating and drinking; 



54 



ST. MATTHEW. 



CI) up. XI. 



and they say, BohoUl a liian siluUon- 
ous ami a \viiie-l)il)ber, a iViciul of 
piiblioaiis and siniuTs. But Wisdom 
is justiHed of her children. 

Our Saviour in these words describes 
the perverse Iniinoiu- of the Pharisees, wlioni 
nothing could alhiro to the embracing of 
the gospel ; neither Jolin's ministry, nor 
Christ's. This our Saviour sets forth two 
ways. 1. AUegorically, ver. 16, 17. 2. Pro- 
perly, ver. 18, 19. By way of allegory, 
he compares them to sullen children, whom 
nothing would please, neither mirth nor 
mourmug: if their fellows piped before 
them, they would not dance; if they sung 
mournful songs to them, they would not 
lament : that is, the Pharisees were of such 
a censorious and capricious humour, that 
God himself could not please them, though 
he usetl variety of means and methods in 
order to that enil. Neither the delightful 
arts of mercy, nor the doleful ditties of 
judgment, could atlect or move tlieir hearts. 
Next our Lord plainly interprets this alle- 
gory, by telling them. That John came 
to them luithcr eating nor (Irinkim': ; that 
is, not so freely and plentifully as other 
men, being a very austere and mortilied 
man, both in his diet and in his habit : and 
all this was designed by God, Uiat die 
austerity of his life and severity of liis 
doctrine might awaken the Pharisees to 
repentance : l)ut instead of this, tliey 
censure him for having a devil : because he 
delighted in solitude, and avoided con- 
vei-se with men ; according to the ancient 
proverb, that every solitary pei-son is 
either an ang-el or a devil, either a wild 
beast or a god. Jolm being thus rejected, 
Christ himself comes to them, who being 
of a free and familiar converse, not shun- 
ning the society of the worst of men, even 
of the Pharisees themselves, but complying 
with their customs, and companying witii 
diem at their feasts, yet without the least 
compliance with them in their sins : but 
the freedom of our Saviour's conversation 
displeased them as much as John's re- 
servedness of temper ; for they cry, Behold 
a man gluttonous. Christ's atl'abUity 
towards sinners, fliey call approbation of 
their sins; and his sociable disposition, 
looseness and luxury. Learn hence, 1. 
Thai the faidiful and zealous ministers of 
God, let their temper and conx'erse be 
what it will, cannot please (he enemies of 
religion, and the haters of the power of 
godliness; neither John's austerity, nor 



Clirist's familiarity, would gtiin upon the 
Phaiisees. It is our duty in the course 
of our ministry to seek to please all men 
for Uieir good ; but after all our endea- 
vours to please all, we shall please but 
very few ; but if God and conscience be of 
the immber of those few, we are safe and 
happy. Observe, 2. That it has been the 
old policy of the devil, that he might 
hinder the success of the gospel, to fill tiie 
minds of persons with an invincible preju- 
dice against the ministers and dispensers of 
the gospel. Observe, 3. That alter all the 
scandalous reproaches cast upon religion, 
and the ministers of it, such as are Wisdom's 
children, wise and good men, will justify 
religion ; that is, approve it in their judg- 
ments, honour it in their discourses, and 
adorn it in their lives : Wisdom is justified 
of her children. 

20 Than began he to upbraid the 
cities wherein most of his mighty 
works were done, because they re- 
pented not : 21 Woe unto thee, 
Chorazin ! woe unto thee, Bethsaida ! 
for if the mighty works which were 
done in you had been done in Tyre 
and Sidon, they would have repent- 
ed long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 
22 But I say unto you. It shall be 
more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon 
at the day ofjudgnient, than for you. 

Our Saviour having gone through the 
cities of Galilee, preaching the doctrine of 
repentance, and confirming his doctrine 
with miracles, and finding multitudes after 
all his endeavours remain in their impeni- 
tence, he proceeds to upbraid them severely 
for that their contempt of gospel grace : 
Then hegan he to upbraid the cities, cVr. 
Where observe, 1. The cities upbraided, 
Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum ; 
in their pulpits he daily preached, and 
those places were the theatres upon which 
-his miracles were wrought; other cities 
only heard, these saw ; but where he 
preached most he prevailed least ; like 
some fishermen, he catched least in his own 
pond. Obser\'e, 2. What he upbraids them 
i'or ; not for disrespect to his pei-son, but 
for disobedience to his doctrine ; because 
they repented not. Tlie great design of 
Christ, botli m the doctrines which he 
preached, and in the miracles which he 
wrought, \vas to bring men to repentance ; 
that is, to forsake their sins, and live well. 
Obser\e, 3. Whom ho upbraids them 



Chap. XI. 



with ; Ti^re and Sidon, Sudom and Gc- 
morrah ; nations rude and barbarous, out 
of the pale of the church, ignorant of a Sa- 
viour, and of the way of salvation by him. 
Learn, That the higher a people rise under 
the means, the lower they tall if they 
miscarry. They that have been nearest to 
conversion, and not yet converted, shall 
have the greatest condemnation whea they 
are judged. Capernaum's sentence shall 
exceed Sodom's for severity, because she 
exceeded Sodom in the enjoyment of means 
and mercy. The case of those who are 
impenitent imder the gospel, is of all others 
the most dangerous, and their damnation 
shall be heaviest and most severe. Sodom, 
the stain of mankind, a city soaked in the 
dregs of villany ; yet this hell upon earth 
shall have a milder hell at the last day of 
judgment, than unbeUeving Capernaum, as 
the next vene informs us, verse 23. 

23 And tbou, Capernaum, which 
art exalted unto heaven, shalt be 
brought down to hell : for if the 
raightv works which have been done 
in thee had been done in Sodom, it 
would have remained until this day. 

This city lying under greater guilt than 
the rest, Christ names it by itself, without 
the rest : nay, he doth not only name it, 
but notify it, as being lifted up to heaven 
by signal favours and privileges, namely, 
Christ's presence, Christ's preaching and 
miracle. Obsen'e, 1. Capernaum's privi- 
lege enjoyed, though a poor obscure place 
in itself, yet she was by the person, ministry, 
and miracles of Christ, lifted up to heaven. 
Learn thence. That gospel-ordinances and 
church-privileges enjoyed, are a mighty ho- 
nour and advancement to the poorest per- 
sons and obscurest places. Obser\'e, 2. An 
heavy doom denounced. Thou shalt be 
brought doizn to hell ; that is, thy condi- 
tion shall be as sad as that of the worst of 
men, for thy non-proficiency under the 
means enjoyed. Learn thence, That gos- 
pel-ordinances and church-privileges en- 
joyed, but not improved, provoke Almighty 
God to inflict the sorest of judgments upon 
a people. Thou Capernaum, ■which art 
exalted to heaven, shalt be brought do-wn 
to hell. 

24 But I say unto you, that it shall 
be more tolerable for the land of 
Sodom in the day of judgment, than 
for thee. 

Observe here, 1. That there shall be a 



ST. MATTHEW 



55 



day of judgment. 2. That in the day of 
judgment some sinners shall fare worse 
than others. There are degrees of punish- 
ment among the damned. 3. That the 
woRt of hecithens, who never heard of a 
Saviour, nor ever had an offer of salvation 
by him, shall fare better in the day of judg- 
ment than those that continue impenitent 
under the gospel. Christ here avouches, 
that Capernaum's sentence shall exceed So- 
dom's for severity. 

25 At that time Jesus answered 
and said, I thank thee, O Father, 
Lord of heaven and earth, because 
thou hast hid these things from the 
wise and prudent, and hast revealed 
them unto babes. 2G Even so. Fa- 
ther : for so it seemed good in thy 
sight. 

In th^e verses our Saviour glorifies his 
Father for the wise and free dispjensation of 
his gospel-grace to the meanest and most 
ignorant ; whilst the great and learned men 
of the world undervalued and despised 
it. By -wise and prudent, Christ means 
worldly wise men, particularly scribe and 
Pharisees, from whom God in judgment did 
hide the mysteries of the gospel, and said, 
ye shall not see ; because they had closed 
their eyes, and said, we will not see. By 
babes, understand such as are at the great- 
et distance in natural consideration from a 
capacity for such rich and heavenly mani- 
festations. By hiding these thino^s from 
the tDise and prudent, we are not to under- 
stand God's putting darkness into them, but 
his living them to their own darkness, or 
denjong them that light which they had no 
desire to see ; plainly intimating, that God 
judicially hides the mysteries of heavenly 
wisdom from worldly wise men. Learn, 

1 . That till God reveals himself, his nature 
and will, no man can know either what he 
is, or what he requires : Thou hast revealed. 

2. That the wise men of the world have in 
all ages despised the mysteries of the gospel, 
and therefore been judicially given up by 
God to their own -wTlful blindness : Thou 
hast hid these things from the -else and 
prudent. 3. That the most ignorant and 
most humble, not the most learned, if 
proud, do stand ready to receive and em- 
brace the gospel revelation : Thou hast re- 
vealed them unto babes. 4. This is no 
less pleasing to Christ, than it is the plea- 
sure of the Father : Erew HO, Father, for 
so it seemeth sood in thy sight. As if 
Christ had said. Father, tliv election and 



66 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. XI. 



choice pleases me, as being the choice and 
good pleasure of thy wisdom. 

27 All things are delivered unto 
me of my Father : and no man know- 
eth the Son but the Father ; neither 
knoweth any man the Father, save 
the Son, and he to whomsoever the 
Son will reveal him. 

In this verse our Saviour opens his com- 
mission, and declares, 1. His authority; 
that all power is committed to him, as 
Mediator, from God the Father. 2. His 
ofBce ; to reveal his Father's mind and will 
to a lost world. No 7nan kno-wcth the 
Father, but the Son ; that is, the essence 
and nature of the Father, the will and 
counsel of the Father, only as the Son re- 
veals them. Learn, That all our saving 
knowledge of God is in and through Jesus 
Christ : he, as the great Prophet of the 
church, reveals the mmd and will of God 
unto us for oiu: salvation, and no saving 
knowledge without him. 

28 Come unto me all ye that la- 
bour and are heavy laden, and I 
will give you rest. 

Here we have a sweet invitation, backed 
with a gracious encouragement ; Christ in- 
vites such as are weary of the burden of sin, 
of the slavery of Satan, of the yoke of the 
ceremonial law, to come unto him for rest 
and ease ; and as an encouragement assures 
them, that upon their coming to him they 
shall find rest. Learn, 1. That sin is the 
soul's laborious burden : Come unto me, 
all ye that labour. Labouring supposes a 
burden to be laboured under ; this burden 
is sin's guilt. 2. That such as come to 
Christ for rest must be laden sinners. 3. 
That laden sinners not only may, but ought 
to come to Christ for rest : that they may 
come, because invited ; they ought to come, 
because commanded. 4. That the laden 
sinner, upon his coming, shall find rest. 
Come, 8fc. Note here, That to come to 
Christ, in the phrase of the New Testament, 
is to believe in him, and to become one of 
his disciples. John vi. 35. He that 
Cometh unto me shall not hunger, he that 
believeth on me shall not thirst. 

29 Take my yoke upon you, and 
learn of me ; for I am meek and low- 
ly in heart : and ye shall finrd rest 
unto your souls. 

Here note, That the phrase of. Take the 
yoke, is judicial : the Jewish doctors speak 
frequently of the yoke of the law ; the 



yoke of the commandments ; and the 
ceremonies imposed upon the Jews are 
called a yoke, Acts xv. 10. Now as Moses 
had a yoke, so has Christ : and according- 
ly observe, 1. Christ's disciples must wear 
Christ's yoke. This yoke is twofold ; a 
yoke of instruction, and a yoke of afflic- 
tion : Christ's law is a yoke of instruction ; 
it restrains our natural inclinations, it curbs 
our sensual appetites ; it is a yoke to 
corrupt nature ; this yoke Christ calls his 
•^ok&yTake my yoke upon you: 1. Because 
he, as a Lord, lays it upon our necks. 2. 
Because he, as a Servant, bore it upon his 
own neck first, before he laid it upon ours. 
Observe, 2. That the way and manner how 
to bear Christ's yoke must be learnt of Christ 
himself. Take my yoke upon you, and 
learn of me ; that is, learn of me, both 
what to bear, and how to bear. Observe, 
3. That Christ's humility and lowly- 
mindedness, is a great encouragement to 
christians to come unto him, and learn of 
him, both how to obey his commands, and 
how to suffer his will and pleasure. Learn 
of me, for lam meek. 

30 For my yoke is easy, and my 
burden is light. 

Observe here, 1. Christ's authority and 
greatness : he has power to impose a yoke, 
and inflict a burden. My yoke ; jny bur- 
den. 2. His clemency and goodness, in 
imposing an easy yoke, and a light burden. 
My yoke is easy, my burden is light ; that 
is, my service is good and gainful, profit- 
able and useful ; not only tolerable, but 
delightful : and as is my yoke, such is my 
burden ; the burden of my precepts, the 
burden of my cross, both light, not abso- 
lutely, but comparatively ; the weight of 
my cross is not comparable with the glory 
of my crown. Learn, That the service of 
Christ, though hard and intolerable to 
corrupt nature, yet is a most desirable and 
delightful service to grace or renewed 
nature ; Chiist's service is easy to a spiritual 
mind. 1. It is easy, as it is a rational 
service : consonant to right reason, though 
contradictory to depraved nature. 2. 
Easy, as it is a spiritual service ; delightful 
to a spiritual mind. 3. Easy, as it is an 
assisted service ; considering that we work 
not in our own strength, but in God's. 4. 
Easy, when once it is an accustomed 
service ; though hard to beginners, it is easy 
to professors; the farther we walk, the 
sweeter is our way. 5. Easy, as it is the 
most gainful service ; having the assurance 



Chap. XH. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



57 



of an eternal weight of glory, as the reward 
of our obedience. Well therefore might 
our holy Lord say to his followers, Mt/ 
vokc is eas)/, and itui burdoi is light. 

CHAP. XII. 

Our blessed Saviour in this chapter takes occasion to 
instruct his disciples in the doctrine of the sab- 
bath ; showinpf, that works of necessity and mercy 
may lie performed upon tliat day, witliout any 
violation of the divine command. 

yi T that time Jesus went on the 

sabbath-day through the corn ; 

and his disciples were an hungered, 

and began to phick the ears of corn, 

and to eat. 

Observe here the poor estate and low 
condition of Christ's own disciples in this 
world : they wanted bread, and are forced 
to pluck .the ears of corn to satisfy their 
hunger. God sometimes suffers his dearest 
children in this world to fall into straits, and 
to taste of want, for the trial of their faith, 
and dependence upon his power and pro- 
vidence. 

2 But when the Pharisees saw it, 
they said unto him, Behold, thy dis- 
ciples do that which is not lawful to 
do upon the sabbath-day. 

Observe here, 1. The persons finding 
fault with this action of the disciples, the 
Pharisees ; many of whom accompanied 
our Saviour, not out of any good intentions, 
but only with a design to cavil at, and 
quarrel with, every thing that either Christ 
or his disciples said or did. Observe, 2. 
The action which tliey found fault with : 
the disciples' plucking off the ears of com 
on the sabbath-day. Where note. It is not 
theft which the disciples are accused of by 
the Pharisees ; for to take in our necessity 
so much of our neighbour's goods as we 
may reasonably suppose that, if he were 
present, and knew our circumstances, he 
would give us, is no theft ; but it was a 
ser\'ile labour on the sabbath, in gathering 
the corn, that the Pharisees scrupled : 
plucking the ears was looked upon as a 
sort of reaping. Learn thence. How 
zealous hypocrites are for the lesser things 
of the law, whilst they neglect the weight- 
ier ; and how superstitiously addicted to 
the outward ceremonies, placing all holi- 
ness in the observation of them. 

3 But he said unto them, Have ye 
not read what David did when he 
was an hungered, and they that were 
with him : 4 How he entered into 
the house of God, and did eat the 



sliew-brcad, which was not lawful for 
him to eat, neither for them which 
were with him, but only for the 
priests ? 5 Or, have ye not read in 
the law, how that on the sabbath- 
days the priests in the temple profane 
the sabbath, and are blameless ? fi 
But I say unto you, that in this place 
is one greajter than the temple. 

In these words our Saviour defends the 
action of his disciples in plucking the ears 
of com in their necessity, by a double 
argument. 1. From David's example: 
necessity freed him from fault in eating the 
consecrated bread, which none but the 
priests might lawfully eat ; for in cases of 
necessity, a ceremonial precept must give 
place to a moral duty : works of mercy 
and necessity, for preserving our lives, and 
the better fitting us for sabbath-services, are 
certainly lawful on the sabbath-day. 2. 
From the example of the priests in the 
temple who upon the sabbath do break the 
outward rest of the day, by killing their sa- 
crifices, and many other acts of bodily 
labour, which would be accounted sabbath- 
profanation, did not the service of the 
temple require and justify it. Novv, saith 
our Saviour if the temple-service can 
justify labour on the sabbath, I am greater 
than the temple, and my authority and 
service can justify what my disciples have 
done. From the whole we learn. That 
acts of mercy, which tend to fit us for works 
of piety, not only may, but ought to be, 
done on the sabbath-day. 

7 But if ye had known what this 
meaneth, I will have mercy, and not 
sacrifice, ye would not have con- 
demned the guiltless. 

Learn hence, That the law of mercy is 
much more excellent than the law of cere- 
monies; and where both cannot be ob- 
served, the less must give place to the 
greater. God never intended that the 
ceremonies of his service in the first table, 
should hinder works of mercy prescribetf 
in the second table. All God's commandii 
are for man's good. Where both cannot 
be obeyed, he will have the moral duty 
performed, and the ceremonial service 
omitted : lie -will have inerci/ and not sa- 
crifice ; that is, he will have mercy rather 
than sacrifice, where both cannot be had. 

8 For the Son of man is Lord 
even of the sabbath-dav. 



58 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. XII. 



Ab if Chrisl had said, " I, who am Lord 
of the sabbath, declare to you, that I have 
a power to dispense with the observation of 
it : and it is my will that the sabbath, which 
was appointed for man, should yield to 
man's safety and welfare." Christ the Son 
of man was really the Son of God : and as 
such had power over the sabbath, to dispense 
with it, yea, to abrogate and change it, at 
his pleasure. 

9 And when he was departed 
thence, he went into their synagogue. 
10 And, behold, there was a man 
which had his hand withered. And 
they asked him, saying, Is it lawful 
to heal on the sabbath-days ? that 
they might accuse him. 11 And he 
said unto them. What man shall 
there be among you, that shall have 
one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on 
the sabbath-day, will he not lay hold 
on it, and lift it out ? 12 How 
much then is a man better than a 
sheep ? wherefore it is lawful to do 
well on the sabbath-days. 

Here we have another dispute betwixt 
our Saviour and the Pharisees concerning 
the sabbath ; whether it be a breach of that 
day, mercifully to heal a person having a 
withered hand ? Christ confutes them 
from their own practice, telling the Pha- 
risees, that they themselves judged it 
la\vful to help out a sheep, or an ox, if 
fallen into a pit on that day : how much 
more ought the life of a man to be pre- 
ferred ! Here we may remark, how inve- 
terate a malice the Pharisees had against our 
Saviour : when they could find no crime 
to charge him with, tb.ey blame him for 
working a merciful and miraculous cure 
upon the sabbath-day. When envy and 
malice (which are evermore quick-sighted) 
can find no occasion of quarrel, they will" 
invent one, against the innocent. 

13 Then saith he to the man, 
Stretch forth thine hand. And he 
stretched it forth ; and it was re- 
stored whole, like as the other. 14 
Then the Pharisees went out, and 
held a council against him, how they 
might destroy him. 15 But when 
Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself 
from thence: and great multitudes 
followed him, and he healed them 



all ; 10 And charged them that 
they should not make him known : 

Observe, 1. The merciful and miracu- 
lous cure wrought by our Saviour's power 
upon the impotent man : /le said unto him. 
Stretch out thine hand, and his hand was 
restored. Observe, 2. What a contrary 
effect this cure had upon the Pharisees; in- 
stead of convincing them, they conspire 
against him : Christ's enemies, when argu- 
ments fail, fall to violence. Observe, 3. 
The prudent means which our Saviour uses 
for his own preservation, he withdrew him 
self. Christ's example teaches his minis- 
ters their duty ; to avoid the hands of per- 
secutors, and prudently to preserve their 
lives, unless when their sufferings are 
like to do more good than their lives. 
Observe, 4. The great humility of Christ 
in concealing his own praises ; he had 
no ambition that the fame of his mira- 
cles should be spread abroad, for he sought 
not his own glory ; neither would he by the 
noise of his miracles enrage the Pharisees 
against him to take away his life ; know- 
ing that his time was not yet come, and 
he had much work to do before his death. 

17 That it might be fulfilled which 
was spoken by Esaias the prophet, 
saying, 18 Behold my servant 
whom I have chosen ; my beloved, 
in whom my soul is well pleased : I 
will put my Spirit upon him, and he 
shall siiew judgment to the Gentiles. 
19 He shall not strive, nor cry ; 
neither shall any man hear his voice 
in the streets. 20 A bruised reed 
shall he not break, and smoking 
flax shall he not quench, till he send 
forth judgment unto victory. 21 
And in his name shall the Gentiles 
trust. 

That is, our blessed Saviour did those 
good acts before spoken of, that it miglit ap- 
pear that he was the true Messias prophesied 
of by Isaias the prophet, chap. xlii. 1,2. 
Behold my servant whom I have set apart 
for accomplishing the work of salvation for 
a lost world ; he by the fulness of my 
Spirit shall teach the nations the way of 
truth and righteousness ; he shall not 
subdue men by force and violence, but, as 
the Prince of Peace, shall deal gently with 
the weak, and cherish the least measures of 
grace, and degrees of goodness. Observe 
here, 1 . A description of Christ as Mediator ; 



i 



Chap. XII. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



59 



he is God the Father's Servant, eavployed in 
the most noble service, namely, that of 
instructing and saving a lost world. Ob- 
serve, 2. With what meekness and gentle- 
ness Christ sets up his spiritual kingdom in 
tlie world ; he doth not with noise and 
clamour, with force and violence, subdue 
and conquer ; but with meekness and 
gentleness gains persons' consent to his 
government and authority. Observe, 3. 
The gentle carriage of Christ in treating 
those of intirmer grace ; he doth and will 
graciously preserve and tenderly cherish 
the smallest beginnings, the weakest mea- 
sures, and the lowest degrees, of sincere 
grace, which he observes in any of his 
children and people. By the bruised reed 
and smoking jinx, understand such as are 
broken with the sense of sin, such as are 
weak in faith, such as are so much over- 
powered by corruption, that they do rather 
smoke than bum or shine; such as are 
thus low and mean in spuituals, Christ will 
not break with his power, nor quench with 
his rebukes, till he has perfected their 
conversion, and their weak grace is become 
victorious. 

22 Then was brought unto him 
one possessed with a devil, bhud 
and dumb : and lie healed him, in- 
somuch that the blind and dumb 
both spake and saw. 23 And all 
the people were amazed, and said. 
Is not this the Son of David I 24. 
But when the Pharisees heard it, 
they said, This/e//oir doth not cast 
out devils but by Beelzebub, the 
prince of the devils. 

As a farther instance of Christ's miracu- 
lous power, he healeth one whom the devil 
had cast into a disease which deprived him 
both of speech and sight : at this miracle 
the multitude wonder, saying, Js not this 
the son of David ? that is, the promised 
Messias. The Pharisees hearing this, with 
great bitterness and contempt said, T/iis 
follow castetli out devils by Beelzebub the 
prince of devils. Observe from hence, 
How obstinacy and malice will make men 
misconstrue the actions of the most holy 
and innocent ; Christ casteth out devils, 
say the Pharisees, by the help of the devil. 
There never was any person so good, nor 
any action so gracious, but they have been 
subject both to censure and misconstrue! io». 
The best way is to square our actions by the 
right rule of justice and charity, and then 



let the world pass their censures at their 
pleasure. When the holy and innocent 
Jesus was thus assaulted, what wonder is it 
if we his sinful servants be branded on all 
sides by reviling tongues ! Why should 
we expect better treatment than the Son of 
God. 

25 And Jesus knew their thoughts, 
and said unto them. Every kingdom 
divided against itself is brought to 
desolation ; and every city or house 
divided against itself shall not stand : 
26 And if Satan cast out Satan, he 
is divided against himself; how 
shall then his kingdom stand ? 27 
And if 1 by Beelzebub cast out de- 
vils, by whom do your children cast 
the7n out ? therefore they shall be 
your judges. 28 But if I cast out 
devik by the Spirit of God, then the 
kingdom of God is come unto you. 
29 Or else, how can one enter into 
a strong man's house, and spoil his 
goods, except he first bind the strong 
man ? and then he will spoil his 
house. 30 He that is not with me 
is against me ; and he that gathereth 
not with me scattereth abroad. 

Our blessed Saviour, to clear his inno- 
cence, and to convince the Pharisees of the 
unreasonableness of this their calumny and 
false accusations, offers several arguments 
to their consideration. 1. That it was 
very unlikely that Satan should lend him 
this power to use it against himself. As 
Satan has a kingdom, so he has wit enough 
to preserve his kingdom, and will do 
nothing to weaken his own interest. Now 
if I have received my power from Satan for 
destroying him and has kingdom, then is 
Satan divided against himself. 2. Oui 
Saviour tells them, they might with as much 
reason attribute all miracles to the devil, as 
those tliat were wrought by him. There 
were certain Jews among themselves, who 
cast out devils in the name of the God of 
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob ; Christ asks 
the Pharisees, by what power these their 
children cast them out ; They acknow- 
ledged that those did it by the power of 
God ; and there was no cause but their 
malice, why they should not acknowledge 
that what he did was by the same power. 
If I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, 
then the kingdom of God is come unto you ; 
that is, the Messias is come, because he 



GO 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. XII. 



wrought these miracles to prove that he was 
the Messias. 3. Another argument to 
prove that the miracles which Christ 
■wrought were hy the power of God, and 
not by the help of Satan, is this : The 
devil is very strong and powerful, and 
there is no power but God's only that is 
stronger than his : Now, says Christ, If I 
were not assisted by a divine power, I 
could never cast out this strong man, who 
reigns in the world as in his house : it must 
be a stronger than the strong man that shall 
bind Satan : and who is he but the God of 
strength ? 

31 Wherefore I say unto you. All 
manner of sin and blasphemy shall 
be forgiven unto men : but the blas- 
phemy against the Holij Ghost shall 
not be forgiven unto men. 32 And 
whosoever speaketh a word against 
the Son of man, it shall be forgiven 
him : but whosoever speaketh a- 
gainst the Holy Ghost, it shall not 
be forgiven him, neither in this world, 
neither in the world to come. 

Observe, 1. How our Saviour makes a 
difference betwixt speaking against the Son 
of man, and speaking against the Holy 
Ghost. By speaking against the Son of 
vian, is meant all those reproaches that were 
cast upon our Saviour's person as Man, 
without reflecting upon his divine power 
as God, which he testified by his miracles. 
Such were their reproaching him v.'ith the 
meanness of his birth, their censuring him 
for a Wine-bibber and a Glutton, and the 
like. But by speaking against the Holy 
Ghost, is meant, their blaspheming and 
reproaching that divine power whereby he 
wrought his miracles ; which was an im- 
mediate reflection upon the Holy Spirit, 
and a blaspheming of him. Observe, 2. 
The nature of this sin of speaking against 
the Holy Ghost : it consisteth in this, that 
the Pharisees seeing our Saviour work mi- 
racles, and cast out devils by the Spirit of 
God, contrary to the conviction of their 
own minds, they maliciously ascribed his 
miracles to the power of the devil, charging 
him to be a sorcerer and a magician, and 
to have a familiar spirit, by whose help he 
did those mighty works; when in truth 
he did them by the Spirit of God. Ob- 
serve, 3. That this sin above all others is 
called unpardonable, and upon what ac- 
count it is so. The case of such blas- 
phemers of the Holy Spirit, is not only 



dangerous, but desperate ; because they 
resist their last remedy, and oppose the 
best means for their conviction. What can 
God do more to convince a man that Jesus 
Christ is the true Messiah, than to work 
miracles for that purpose ? Now if when 
men see plain miracles wrought, they will 
say it is not God that works them, but the 
devil ; as if Satan would conspire against 
himself, and seek the ruin of his own. 
kingdom ; there is no way left to convince 
such persons, but they must and will con- 
tinue in their opposition to truth, to their 
inevitable condemnation. 

33 Either make the tree good, 
and his fruit good ; or else make the 
tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt : 
for the tree is known by Ms fruit. 

These words may either refer to the 
Pharisees, or to Christ himself. If to the 
Pharisees, the sense is, You hypocritical 
Pharisees show yourselves what you are by 
your words and actions, even as the fniit 
showeth what the tree is. If they refer to 
Christ, then they are an appeal to the Pha- 
risees themselves, to judge of our Saviour 
and his doctrine by the miracles which he 
wrought. If he wrought by the devil, his 
works would be as bad as the devil's ; but 
if his works were good, they must own them 
to be wrought by the power of God. The 
expression implies, that a man may be 
known by his actions, as a tree may be 
known by his fruit ; yet not by a single 
action, but by a series of actions ; not by a 
particular act, but by our general course. 

34 O generation of vipers ! how 
can ye, being evil, speak good 
things ? for out of the abundance of 
the heart the mouth speaketh. 

Note here, 1. The fervency and zeal of 
our Saviour's spirit in the compellation 
given to the Pharisees : he calls them a 
generation of vipers ; intimating that they 
were a venomous and dangerous sort of 
men. Learn hence. That it is not always 
railing and indiscreet zeal to call wicked men 
by such names as their sin deserves. Ob- 
serve farther. From our Saviour's saying, 
that out of the abundance of the heart the 
mouth speaketh ; that the heart is the 
fountain both of words and actions : ac- 
cording as the heart is, so is the current of 
men's words and actions, either good or 
evil. 

35 A good man, out of the good 
treasure of the heart, bringeth forth 



Chap. XII. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



61 



good things : and an evil man, out 
of the evil treasure, bringeth forth 
evil things. 

Observe here, A double treasure dis- 
covered in the heaii; of man. 1. An evil 
treasure of sin and corruption, both 
natural and acquired, from whence proceed 
evil things. Now tliis is called a treasure, 
not for the preciousnes s of it, but for the 
abundance of it ; a little doth not make a 
treasure : and also for the continuance of 
it ; though it be perpetually overflowing in 
the life, yet doth the heart continue full ; 
this treasure of original corruption in man's 
nature may be drawn low in this life, by 
sanctifying grace, but it never can be 
drawn dry. 2. Here is a good treasure of 
grace discovered in a sanctified and renewed 
man ; which is the source and spring from 
whence all gracious actions do proceed 
and flow. For as the heart of man by 
nature is the fountain from whence all sin 
springs, so the heart renewed by grace is the 
source and spring from whence all gracious 
actions do proceed and flow. 

36 But I say unto you, that every 
idle word that men shall speak, they 
shall give account thereof in the day 
of judgment. 

I say unto you ; I, that have always 
been in my Father's bosom, and fully 
know his mind ; I, that am constituted 
Judge of quick and dead, and understand 
the rule of judgment ; I, even I, do assure 
you that every word that has no tendency 
to promote the glory of God, or some way 
the good of others, will fall imder censure 
at the great day, without an intervening re- 
pentance. Note here. That there are two 
sorts of words for which we must be judged ; 
sinful words, and idle words. Sinful 
words are blasphemous words, censorious 
words, lying and slandering words. Idle 
words are such as savour nothing of wisdom 
and piety ; that have no tendency to make 
men either wiser or better : how light soever 
men make of their words now, yet in God's 
balance another day they will be found to 
weigh very heavy. What a bridle should 
this text be to extravagant tongues ! see 
Col. ix. 6. het your speech be always 
seasoned -with salt, that is, with wisdom, 
&c. for our words may mischief others a 
long time after they are spoken. How 
many years may a frothy or a filthy word, 
a profane scoff", an atheistical jest, stick in 
the minds of them that hear it, after the 



tongue that spake it is dead ! A word spoken 
is physically transient, but morally per- 
manent. 

37 For by thy words thou shalt 
be justified, and by thy words thou 
shalt be condemned. 

Observe here. The argument which our 
Saviour uses to move us to watchfulness 
over our words : by our -words -we shall be 
justified; not meritoriously, but declara- 
tively : good words declare goodness in 
ourselves, and we shall be declared good to 
others by our words, if our words and 
actions do correspond and agree with one 
another. Death and life are in the power 
of the tongue ; that is, according to the 
right or wrong using of the tongue, we 
may judge and gather whether men are 
dead or alive as to God ; and bound for 
heaven or hell. Doubtless justification or 
condemnation will pass upon men at the 
day of judgment, according to the state ot 
the person, and frame of the heart ; now 
our words will justify or condemn us in 
that day, as evidences of the state and 
frame of the soul. We use to say, such 
witnesses hanged a man ; that is, the evi- 
dence they gave cast and condemned him. 
O thmk of this seriously : if words evidence 
the state of thy soul, what a hellish state 
must thy soul be in, who hast inured thy- 
self to the language of hell, to oaths and 
curses ; sins whereby the devil cheats men 
more than by any sins whatsoever ! They 
are damned for them, yet get nothing by 
them, neither profit nor pleasure. 

38 Then certain of the scribes 
and of the Pharisees answered, say- 
ing. Master, we would see a sign 
from thee. 39 But he answered and 
said unto them, An evil and adulte- 
rous generation seeketh after a sign ; 
and there shall no sign be given to 
it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: 
40 For as Jonas was three days and 
three nights in the whale's belly ; 
so shall the Son of man be three 
days and three nights in the heart 
of the earth. 41 The men of Ni- 
neveh shall rise in judgment with 
this generation, and shall condemn 
it : because they repented at the 
preaching of Jonas ; and, behold, 
a greater than Jonas is here. 42 
The queen of the south shall rise 



62 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. Xn. 



up in the judgment with this g;enera- 
tion, and shall condemn it : for she 
came from t!ie uttermost parts of the 
earth to hear the wisdom of Solo- 
mon : and, behold, a greater than 
Solomon is here. 

Observe here, 1. The request which the 
Pharisees make to Christ; Master, we 
•would see a sign from thee. But had not 
Christ showed'them signs enough already ? 
What were all the miracles wrought in 
their sight, but convincing signs that he 
was the true Messias ? But infidehty mix- 
ed with obstinacy is never satisfied. Ob- 
serve, 2. Our Saviour's answer to the Pha- 
risees' request : he tells them that they should 
have one sign more, to wit, that of his re- 
surrection from the dead : For as Jonas 
lay buried three days in the whale's belly, 
and was then wonderfully restored, so 
should (and did) our Saviour continue in 
the grave part of three natural days, and 
then rise again. Observe, 3. How Christ 
declares the inexcusableness of their state, 
who would not be convinced by the former 
miracles he had wrought that he was the 
true Messiah ; nor yet be brought to be- 
lieve in him by this last sign or miracle 
of his resurrection. The Ninevites shall 
condemn the Pharisees, they repented at 
the preaching of Jonas ; but these would 
not be convinced by the preaching and 
miracles of Jesus, The queen of Sheba, 
■who also came from the south to hear and 
admire the wisdom of Solomon, shall rise 
up in judgment against those that reject 
Christ, who is the Wisdom of the Father ; 
and the doctrine delivered by him, which 
was the power of God, and the wisdom of 
God. Learn, that the sins of infidelity and 
impenitency are exceedingly heightened, 
and their guilt aggravated, from the means 
afforded by God to bring a people to faith 
and obedience. The sin of the Pharisees 
in rejecting Christ's miracles and ministry, 
was by far greater than that of the Nine- 
vites, had they rejected Jonah's message 
and ministry sent by God amongst them. 



43 When 
gone out of 
through dry 
and findeth 
saith, I will 
from whence 
he is come, 
swept, and 



the unclean spirit is 
a man, he walketh 
places, seeking rest, 
none. 44 Then he 
return into my house 
I came out ; and when 
he Hii'leth it empty, 
garnished. 45 Then 



goeth he, and taketh with himself 
seven other spirits more wicked than 
himself, and they enter in and dwell 
there : and the last state of that 
man is worse tlian the first. Even 
so shall it be also unto this wicked 
generation. 

The design and scope of this parable 
is to show that the Pharisees, by rejecting 
the gospel and refusing to believe in Christ, 
were in a seven-fold worse condition than 
if the gospel had never been prep^ched to 
them, and a Saviour had never come among 
them ; because by our Saviour's ministry 
Satan was in some sort cast out : but for 
rejecting Christ and his grace, Satan had 
got a seven-fold stronger possession of them 
now than before. From this parable learn, 
1. That Satan is an unclean spirit; he has 
lost his original purity, his holy nature, in 
which he was created, and is become uni- 
versally filthy in himself ; no means being 
allowed him by God for purging of his 
filthy and unclean nature. Nay, he is a 
perfect enemy to purity and holiness, ma- 
ligning all that love it, and would pro- 
mote it. 2. That Satan is a restless and 
unquiet spirit ; being cast out of heaven, 
he can rest nowhere ; when he is either 
gone out of a man through policy, or cast 
out of a man by power, he has no content 
or satisfaction, till he returns into a filthy 
heart, where he delights to be as the swine 
in miry places. 3. That v/icked and pro- 
fane sinners have this unclean spirit dwell- 
ing in them : their hearts are Satan's house 
and habitation •, and the lusts of pride and 
unbelief, malice and revenge, envy and 
hypocrisy, these are the gamisliings of Sa- 
tan's house. Man's heart was God's house 
by creation, it is now Satan's by usurpation 
and judiciary tradition. 4. That Satan by 
the preaching of the gospel may seem to 
go out of persons, and they become sober 
and civilized ; yet may he return to his old 
habitation, and the last end of that man 
may be worse than the beginning. 

4C While he yet talked to the 
people, behold, his mother and his 
brethren stood without, desiring to 
speak with him. 47 Then one 
said unto him. Behold, thy mother 
and thy brethren stand without, 
desiring to speak with thee. 48 
Rut he answered and said unto him 
that told him, Who is my mother ? 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. XIII. 

and who are my brethren ? 49 And 
he stretched forth his hand toward 
his disciples, and said. Behold my 
mother and my brethren ! 50 For 
whosoever shall do the will of my 
Father which is in heaven, the same 
is my brother, and sister, and 
mother. 

Observe here, 1. The verity of Christ's 
human nature ; he had affinity and con- 
sanguinity -with men, persons near in blood 
to him, called his brethren, that is, his 
cousin-germans. 2. That the holy virgin 
herself was not wholly free from failings and 
infirmities ; for here she does untimely and 
unseasonably interrupt our Savioui- when 
preaching to the people, and employed 
about his Father's business. 3. That Christ 
did not neglect his holy mother, nor dis- 
regard his near relations ; only showed 
that he preferred his Father's service before 
them. Learn, 4. How dear believers are 
to Jesus Christ; he prefers his spiritual 
kindred before his natural. Alliance in 
faith, and spiritual relation to Christ, is 
much nearer and dearer than alliance by 
blood : to bear Christ in the heart is much 
better than to bear him in the womb. 
Blessed be God, this greatest privilege is 
not denied to us even now : though see 
Christ we cannot, yet love him we may ; 
his bodily presence cannot be enjoyed by 
us, but his spiritual presence is not denied 
us. Though Christ be not ours, in house, 
in arms, in affinity, in consanguinity, yet 
in heart, in faith, in love, in service, he is or 
may be ours. Verily, spiritual regeneration 
brings men into a more honourable relation 
to Christ than natural generation ever did. 
W/iosoever shall do the will of m^ Father, 
he is my brother, and sister, and mother. 

CHAP. xm. 

npHE same day went Jesus out of 
the house, and sat by the sea- 
side. 2 And great multitudes were 
gathered together unto him, so that 
he went into a ship, and sat ; and 
the whole multitude stood on the 
shore. 3 And he spake many 
things unto them in parables, say- 
ing.— 

The foregoing chapter gave us an ac- 
count of an awakening sermon preached 
by our Saviour to the Pharisees. In this 
chapter we arc acquainted with the con- 



(>3 



linuance of his preaching to the multitude, 
where tlirce things are observable. 1. Our 
Lord's assiduity and unwearied diligence 
in preaching of the gospel ; fortius sermon 
was made the same day with that ni the 
former chapter, ver. L The same day -weni 
Jesus out, and sat by the sea-side. A 
good pattern for the preachers of the gos- 
pel to follow. How ashamed may we be 
to preach once a week, wlien our Lord 
preached twice a day ! Observe, 2. The 
place our Lord preached in, a ship ; not 
that he declined the temple or the syna- 
gogue, when he had the opportunity ; but 
in the want of them, Christ thought an 
house, a mountain, a ship, no unmeet place 
to preach in. It is not the place that sanc- 
tifies the ordinance, but the ordinance that 
sanctifies the place. Observe, 3. The man- 
ner of our Lord's preaching ; It was by 
parables and similitudes ; which was an 
ancient way of instruction among the Jews, 
and a very convincing way ; at once 
working upon men's minds, memories, 
and affections ; making the mind at- 
tentive, the memory retentive, and the 
auditors inquisitive after the interpretation 
of the parable. Some are of opinion that 
our Saviour's parables were suited to his 
h^irers' employments, some of whom be- 
ing husbandmen, he resembles his doctrine 
to seed sown in the field-, for thus he 
speaks : 

— Behold, a sower went forth to 
sow : 4 And when he sowed, some 
seeds fell by the way-side, and the 
fowls come and devoured them up. 
5 Some fell upon stony places, where 
they had not much earth ; and forth- 
with they sprung up, because they had 
no deepness of earth : 6 And when 
the sun was up, they were scorched ; 
and because they had no root, they 
withered away. 7 And some fell 
among thorns ; and the thorns 
sprung up, and choked them. 8 
But other fell into good ground, and 
brought forth fruit, some an hun- 
dred-fold, some sixty-fold, some thir- 
ty-fold. 8 Who hath ears to hear, 
let him hear. 

The scope of this parable is to show 
that there are four several sorts of hearers 
of the word, and but one sort only that 
hear to a saving advantage : also to show 
us the cause of the different success of the 



64 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. XIII. 



word preached. Here observe, 1. The 
sowers, Christ and his apostles ; he the 
prime and principal Sower, they the second- 
ary and subordinate seedsmen. Christ 
sows his own field, his ministers sow his 
field ; he sows his own seed, they sow his 
seed. Woe unto us, if we sow our own 
seed, and not Christ's. Observe, 2. The 
seed sown, the word of God. Fabulous 
legends, and unwritten traditions, which 
the seedsmen of the church of Rome sow, 
these are not seed, but chaff; or their own 
seed, not Christ's. Our Lord's field must 
be sown with his own seed, not with mixed 
grain. Learn, 1. That the word of God 
preached is like seed sown in the furrows of 
the field. As seed has a fructifying virtue 
in it, by which it increases and brings forth 
more of its own kind ; so has the word of 
God a quickening power, to regenerate and 
make alive dead souls. Learn, 2. That the 
seed of the word, where it is most plentifully 
sown, it is not alike fruitful. As seed doth 
not thrive in all ground alike, so neither 
doth the word fructify alike in the hearts of 
men. There is a difference both from the 
nature of the soil and from the influence of 
the Spirit. Learn, 3. That the cause of 
the word's unfruitfulness is very different, 
and not the same in all : in some, it is the 
policy of Satan, that bird of prey which 
follows God's plough, and steals away the 
precious seed. In others, it is a hard heart 
of unbelief: in others, the cares of the 
world, like thorns, choke the word, over- 
grow the good seed, draw away the mois- 
ture of the earth, and the heart of the soil, 
and hinder the influences of the sun. The 
far greater part of hearers are fruitless and 
improfitable hearers. Learn, 4. That the 
best ground doth not bring forth fruit alike ; 
some good ground brings forth more, and 
some less -. some thirty, some sixty, and 
some an hundred-fold. In like manner a 
person may be a profitable hearer of the 
word, although he doth not bring forth so 
great a proportion as others, provided he 
brings forth as much as he can. 

10 And the disciples came, and 
said unto him, Why speakest thou 
unto them in parables } 11 He 
answered and said unto them, Be- 
cause it is given unto you to know 
the mysteries of the kingdom of hea- 
ven, but to them it is not given. 

Here we have the disciples' question, and 
our Saviour's answer. Their question is, 
Why speakest thou to thepeople in paraldrs. 



which they do not understand ? They can- 
not see the soul of thy meaning, through 
the body of thy parables. Christ answers, 
" 3'y you, my disciples, and such as you 
are, who love the truth, and desire to obey 
it, the Spirit gives you an effective, ope- 
rative, and experimental knowledge, not 
barely to know these things, but to be- 
lieve them, and feel the power of them in 
and upon your own hearts ; but the gene- 
rality of hearers do satisfy and content 
themselves with a bare notional knowledge 
of what they hear ; a parable therefore is 
well enough for them." Learn, 1. That 
the doctrines of the gospel are mysterious. 
2. That it is a matchless and invaluable 
privilege, practically and savingly to un- 
derstand and know gospel-mysteries. 3. 
That this privilege all are not sharers in, nor 
partakers of, but only those to whom it is 
given : Unto you it is given to know the 
mysteries of the kingdom, hut to them it 
is not given, 

12 For whosoever hath, to him 
shall be given, and he shall have 
more abundance : but whosoever 
hath not, from him shall be taken 
away even that he hath. 

That is, whosoever improves the measures 
of grace received, shall obtain farther mea- 
sures and degrees of it : but from him that 
doth not improve what he has already 
received, shall be taken away that •which 
to himself or others he seemed to have, his 
common gifts and moral endowments. 
Learn, That where there are beginnings of 
true grace, and a right and wise improve- 
ment of it, God will make rich additions 
of more grace to the present stock which 
we have received. 

13 Therefore speak I to them in 
parables : because they seeing, see 
not ; and hearing, they hear not ; 
neither do they understand. 14 
And in them is fulfilled the prophecy 
of Esaias, which saith. By hearing 
ye shall hear, and shall not under- 
stand ; and seeing ye shall see, and 
shall not perceive : 15 For this 
people's heart is waxed gross ; and 
their ears are dull of hearing, and 
their eyes they have closed ; lest at 
any time they should see with their 
eyes, and hear with their ears, and 
should understand with their heart. 



Chap. XIII. 

and slioukl be coiivorttci, and I 
should heal them. 

These words of our blessed Saviour, as I 
conceive, liave a peculiar reference and re- 
lation to the Pharisees, who attended upon 
Christ's ministry, not with an honest sim- 
plicity of mind, to be instructed by it, but 
to carp and cavil at it. Our Saviour tells 
them he had formerly spoken things very 
plainly and clearly to them, and also 
wrought mii'acles before them, to convince 
them of the divinity of his person and the 
verity of his doctrine : but they would not 
believe either Irs person or his doctrine to 
be from God ; and therefore he would now 
speak to them in dark parables, that they 
may he judicially blinded : they sinfully 
shut their eyes against the clearest light, 
and said they would not see ; and now 
Christ closes their eyes judicially, and says, 
they shall not see. Learn hence. To 
acknowledge the divine justice, which 
speaks darkly to them that despise the 
hght : such as see and yet ee not, they 
shall see the shell, but not the kernel : they 
shall hear the parable, but not understand 
the spiritual sense and meaning of it. 
When wilful blindness of mind is added to 
natural blindness, it is a just and righteous 
thing with God to superadd judicial blind- 
ness, and give them obstinacy of heart, his 
curse unto them. 

16 But blessed are your eyes, for 
they see ; and your ears, for they 
bear. 17 For verily I say unto you, 
that many prophets and righteous 
vien have desired to see those things 
which ye see, and have not seen 
them ; and to hear those things 
which ye hear, and have not heard 
them. 

Here our Saviour pronounces such of his 
disciples and followers blessed, as receiv- 
ed the tniths of the gospel so far as they 
were already taught them ; he assures them 
that they shall receive farther light, and 
fuller measures of spiritual illumination : 
Blessed are your eyes, for they see. 
Learn, That such as have received the least 
measure of spiritual knowledge and saving 
illumination, and do improve it, are in a 
happy and blessed condition ; for as they 
are capable of farther measures of divine 
knowledge, so shall they be partakers of 
them. 

18 Hea"- ye therefore the parable 
of the sower. 19 When any one 



ST. MATTHEW. 



G'i 



heareth the word of the kingdom, 
and understandeth it not, then 
cometh the wicked one, and catch - 
eth away that which was sown in 
his heart. This is he which received 
seed by the way-side. 20 But he 
that received the seed into stony 
places, the same is he that heareth 
the word, and anon with joy 
receiveth it: 21 Yet hath he not 
root in himself, but dureth for 
a while : for when tribulation or 
persecution ariseth because of the 
word, by and by he is offended. 22 
He also that received seed among- 
the thorns is he that heareth the 
word ; and the care of this world, 
and the deceitfulness of riches, 
choke the word, and he becometh 
unfruitful. 23 But he that re- 
ceived seed into the good ground is 
he that heareth the word, and un- 
derstandeth it ; which also heareth 
frijit, and bringeth forth, some an 
hundred-fold, some sixty, some 
thirty. 

As if our Lord had said, " You, rtiy dis- 
ciples, who are not satisfied with a sound of 
words, I will explain to you the sense and 
signification of this parable : the scope of 
which is, to show the different effects which 
the word of God has upon men's hearts, and 
the reason of that ditlerence. The seed is 
the word, the sower is the preacher, the 
soil is the heart and soul of man." Now 
our Saviour assures us, that the hearts of 
some hearers are like highway ground, in 
which the seed is not covered with the 
harrow of meditation ; others are like stony 
ground, in which the word has no root ; 
no root in their understandings, memories, 
conscience, will, or affections : but Ihey 
are offended, either at the depth and pro- 
foundness of the word, or at the sanctity or 
strictness of it, or at the plainness and sim- 
plicity of it. Again, some hearers our 
Lord compares to thorny ground. Thorns 
are covetous desires, which choke the good 
seed, shadow the blade when sprung up, 
keep off the influences of the sun, and draw 
away the fatness of the soil from the seed. 
All these effects have thorns in and among 
the seed ; and the like effects have world- 
ly affections and covetous desires in the 
lieart of man, rendering the word unfruitful 



(JG 



ST. MATTHEW 



Chap. xni. 



iind unpiurttable. But the good christian 
hears tlie woal attentively, keeps it reten- 
tively, l)elievos it stalt'ustiy, applies it p;ir- 
tieuUirly, pnu-tisi's it uiuvcrsuUy, uiul brings 
forth triiit with putieuee and perseverance ; 
tVuit tiuit will retlound to his aeeount, in the 
grt>at tlay ul' aeeount. Learn, 1. That no 
hearers are in Christ's account good hear- 
ei-s of the word, but such as bring forth the 
fruits of an holy, humble, and peaceable 
convei-sation. 2. That a person may be a 
good hearer of the word, if he brings forth 
the best fruit he can, though it be not in so 
great a proportion as others do ; as some 
ground briu'As forth thirty, some sixty, and 
soinean iuindivd-fold : iulikemannerdoall 
the sincere hearers of the word, they all 
bring fortli fruit, though not all alike ; all 
in sincerity and reality, though not all to 
the same "degree, and none to perfection. 
Observe, lastly, Satan is here compared to 
the fowls of the air, which pick up the 
seed before it takes any root in the earth. 
The devil is very jealous of thesuccess of the 
word, and theretbre labours all he can to 
destroy the word, before it comes to ope- 
rate upon the heart : which he doth some- 
times by the cares of the world, sometimes 
by vain companions, who prove mere 
quench-eoals unto early conviction : if he 
can steal away the word, or choke it, he 
has his desire and design. 

24 Another parable put he forth 
unto them, sarins;-. The kins^dom of 
heaven is likened unto a man which 
sowed c;ood seed in his field : 25 
But while men slept, his enemy 
came and sowed tares amon^ the 
wheat, and went his way. 2G But 
when the blade was sprung up, ami 
brought forth fruit, then appeared 
the tares also. 27 So the servants 
of the householder came and said unto 
him, Sir, didst not thou sow gortd 
seed in thy iield ? from whence then 
hath it tares ? 28 lie said unto them, 
An enemy hath done this. The ser- 
vants said unto hirn, Wilt thou then 
that we go and gather them up? 29 
But he said. Nay ; lest while ye 
gather up the tares, ye root up also 
the wheat with them. 30 Let both 
grow together until the harvest : and 
in the time of harvest I will say to 
the reapers, Gather yc together lirst 



the tares, and bind them in biuidtes 
to burn them : but gather the wheat 
into my barn. 

The design and scope of this parable is, 
to show that there is no expectation of uni- 
versal purity in the church of God in this 
life ; but as the tares and the wiieat grow 
together in the same field, so hypocrites 
and sincere christians are and will be inter- 
mixed in the same church, and can hardly 
be discerned one from the other. St. Je- 
rome observes, Tliat in the eastern countries, 
the tares and the wheat were so like one ano- 
ther.whilst they were in the blade, that there 
was no knowing them asunder. Learn, 1. 
That in the outward and visible church 
there ever has been and will be a mixture of 
good and bad, of saints and sinners, of 
hypocrites and sincere christians, until the 
day of judgment. 2. That in that day 
Christ will make a thorough and a perfect 
separation, and divide the tuies from the 
wheat : that is, the righteous from the 
wicked. 3. That in the mean time none 
ought to be so oHended at this mixture in 
the church, as to separate from church-com- 
munion on that account : until the harvest 
it is not to be expected that the tares and 
wheat should be perfectly separated. Yet 
observe, 4. That though the tares are for- 
bidden to be plucked up when sown, yet it 
is the church's duty, all she can, to hinder 
their sowing. Though we must not root 
the wicked up, yet we must prevent the 
rooting of wickedness all we can. Our 
Saviour, that forbad to ]->luck up the tares, 
did not forbid to hinder their sowing. 
Note here. How vain is the collection of the 
Erastians from hence, that the wicked are 
not to be cut off by excommunication from 
the communion of the church ; nor doth 
this text prove that the magistrates may 
not cut off' evil-doers ; seeing this was not 
spoken to them, but to the ministers of the 
church. 

31 Another parable jnit he forth 
unto them, saying, The kingdom of 
heaven is like to a grain of mus- 
tard-seed, which a man took and 
sowed in his field : 32 Which in- 
deed is the least of all seeds : but 
when it is grown, it is the greatest 
among herbs, and beeometii a tree, 
so that the birds of the air come 
and lodge in the branches thereof. 
33 Another parable spake he uiilo 



Clap. XllL ST. MATTHEW. €?* 



TW kimgioH of htmvrm is ia tke kii^di of tkeir Father. 
&e nlD kavoi, vfckk a aiMia WW> ha& cars to hear, let hMkear. 
toA, mmd iai m Aree uh-amio of llepKdife<£4eteBrffle^liChBt 
Meal, tffl tkc vlMiie vas kancBcd. m fkaaed to i i|i1m to Ms fer^fa dfa 
SI An these tU^5 spake JcsBHiio ftc i i ' 'He peDu so«^ good 
the m^lkmAc m paiaUcs ; a^ seei^mlimaM, lie Stm tf mm: wko 
irithoatapaiayespakeheMt^to 5?i5li^S^'^^"ilf? 
the.:3»lhatiti;^befiriaed t'SlS'rS.^^^SiJw 
lAichwas spokea by the fraphct. , j ,i fj, , ^M , , i/fj, f I'^rfl^. ■■ iw 
sajiHg, IvBl opea ay aoitth ia eee<ftn£iK;ftetecs.alBd<ircU*ai 
panUes: I vm ■!«» things which ^Htvitbd* 

hare heca kept secret ftiMi Ae fc^^- ^BOBrf kvpucukK: 4e rai bj b fte de- 
datioa of the worid. ^•cA^wrfiBfcf^rfAeiraU.wd 

L Ikat 
! of fc: tKs »i fte vfaiL of 




;s] 

44 As»: Ihe'kii^daaof hea. 

Eke aato tre asai c hid m a 
field; the«Uch «hea a saa hath 
fiiaad. he hidelh. awl fiN- joT there- 
aSTheaJeaasseirtthewB itihrfe of goedi aadsdcihanthathehath. 
av^, ajad west iato the hone : a^ a^baitdh &at fieM. 4a Asaa: 
hisdiac^lescaaeaitohiii,sayM5. The kiisdoM of heavea k fikc^aato 
I>edareHitoa5 Ac paiaHrof the m mrnhialMia nulia"- goodK 
tares of the fieUL 37 He aaswered peails: 46 Who,whcahehadfiiaad 
aad said aato thea. He that Boweth ok peail of gnat price, imtt a^l 
the good seed is the Soa of Baa: 38 sold aH that he had, ajad hoi^k. 
The field is the «add: the good By fte te«« Wl ■ Ike «d. «id fc 
axd axe the cUdraa of the kkg- padof9eBt]nec^ae«dastood,Cln^ 
doBB; bat tibe taxes are the duUrea ftesaoear&egaEpEi.aadftev^toEfe 
of the wicked oae.- 39 The cmkt aaAaiwfioa fcjLi adBeotqed: fe &at 
that sowed thcB is the devil: the >b fhon^^iy cnvMsd of 4e warfk aad 
harvest isthe cm! of Aeworid: aad e«*«y rfClrirf"s^B^*aii^mih 



&e leapcn are the avEck. 40 As rL***,?^.*^ *^ "^"^ ^y** *! 

.» #.^ .. „ - .j_ J . i£w^ laoc ne aiBS wae wBl aaie aa 

theic£He the taxes are gatheral aad irta^iiClri^«daprt«gQBi*««v 

faaxaediathefiie; soshaUitbem .^ pirt^^l Oat fehB to^^^ 



the ead of this wotld. 41 Thesoa adali^^B,eiailBgoo&ad[l^^ 

of ana Aall sead fiirth his a^ds, «idikBvifeadck«bBa; fir Ch^^ 

aad the? diall ga&er oat of his kBgafsaKanlgpad^asriBtaafalgDod. 

'an thkn that o&ad. aad a<^oUegood; be a*ifc jilAe ofes 



them which do aaqaity: ^ Aad Sff^I^'^ir^'SST*"*" 
Ehaflcastthe-Za frxaaee of «-"?*»•*» lart wA Jl fir 1 



fire: there shall be waffiag aad ^ ' ' 

Svashiaf of teeth. 43 Thea shall 47 Aeaia: ThekiagdoMofheavea 
theiigfateoasshiaefiKthasthesaB, is He ^o a act, that was caM iaio 

r 2 



68 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. Xlir. 



the sea, and slathered of every kind : 
48 Which, wlien it was full, they 
drew to slioie, and sat down, and 
gathered the good into vessels, but 
cast the bad away. 49 So shall it 
be at the end of the world : the 
angels shall come forth, and sever 
the wicked from among the just. 50 
And shall cast them into the furnace 
of fire: there shall bewailing and 
gnashing of teeth. 

The design and scope of the parable also 
is, to set forth the state of the gospel-church, 
which is like a floor, where chatFis mixed 
with wheat ; a field, where tares are mixed 
with good com ; a net, where bad fishes 
are involved with the good. As the wheat 
must not be removed out of the floor before 
the time of winnowing ; nor the tares ga- 
thered out of the field before the time of 
reaping ; nor the good fishes break through 
the net to get from the bad before the time 
of separation ; so must not christians for- 
sake a church's communion, because of the 
present mixture of good and bad in the 
church. For a mixed communion in the 
church, and the good christians communi- 
cating with the bad, doth neither defile the 
ordinances of Christ nor pollute those that 
sincerely join in them. 

51 Jesus saitb unto them. Have 
ye understood all these things ? They 
say unto him, Yea, Lord. 52 Then 
said he unfo them. Therefore every 
scribe which is instructed unto the 
kingdom ofheaven, is like unto a man 
that is an householder, which bring- 
eth fortli out of his treasure things 
new and old. 

Observe here, 1. The title which our Sa- 
viour puts upon gospel-ministers ; they 
are household stewards. 2. He points out 
the office of those stewards ; and that is, to_ 
provide for the household both with plenty 
and variety. He 7)iust brhi<r forth out of 
hh treasure in plenty ; and things ne-w and 
old for their variety There are two essen- 
tial qualifications in a steward, faithfulness 
and prudence ; he must be honest and faith- 
ful, in bringing out of his own treasure, 
not another's ; and he must be prudent, in 
bringing things new, as well as old ; not 
new truths, but old truths in a new dress ; 
lest the household, by always feeding upon 
the sdme dish, do nauseate it, instead of be- 
ing nourished by it. 



53 And it came to pass, thai, 
when Jesus had finished these para- 
bles, he departed thence. 54 And 
when he was come into his own 
country, he taught them in their 
synagogue, insomuch that they were 
astonished, and said. Whence hath 
this man this wisdom, and these 
mighty works ? 55 Is not this the 
carpenter's son ? Is not his mother 
called Mary ? and his brethren, 
James, and Joses, and Simon, and 
Judas ? 56 And his sisters, are 
they not all with us ? Whence then 
hath this man all these things ? 57 
And they were offended in him. — 

Observe here, 1. Christ's tender and 
compassionate regard to his own country- 
men, the people of Galilee and Nazareth ; 
he preached to them in their synagogue. 

2. The effect which his doctrine had upon 
them J they -were astonished at it, but not 
converted by it ; they admire, but did not 
believe. 3. The cause of their rejecting 
Clirist's ministry was the meanness of his 
person, the contemptibleness of his out- 
ward condition, the poverty of his relations : 
Is not this the carpenter's Son ? Mark vi. 

3. he is called the carpenter ; whence the 
fathers concluded, that our Saviour, during 
the time of his obscure privacy, wrought 
at the trade of Joseph his reputed father ; 
and Justin Martyr says, he made ploughs 
and yokes. Sure we are, oiu* Lord spent 
no time in idleness, though we are not cer- 
tain how he employed his time before he 
entered upon his public ministry. Note, 
That the poverty and meanness of Christ's 
condition was that which multitudes stum- 
bled at ; and which kept many, yea, most, 
from believing on him. None but a spiri- 
tual eye can discern beauty in an humbled 
Saviour : Is not this the Son of the carpen- 
ter? 2. That it is no impediment to nor 
hinderance of our faith, that we never saw 
Christ's person m the flesh, nor knew his 
parentage and education ; for here are his 
own countrymen, who daily saw his per- 
son, heard his doctrine, and were witnesses 
of his holy conversation, yet instead of be- 
lieving in him they were offended at him. 

— But Jesus said unto them, A 
prophet is not without honour, save 
in his own country, and in his own 
house. 

Our Saviour tells them, he doth not 



Chap. XIV. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



(19 



wonder tliat so many of his own country- 
men, to whom he had been so famiUarly 
known, did despise his person and reject his 
doctrine ; for a prophet generally has least 
esteem where he has been brought up ; be- 
cause perhaps the follies of his childhood, 
and indecencies of his youth, are remem- 
bered and reported to fiis disparagement. 
Learn, 1. That there is a real tribute of ho- 
nour due and payable to every prophet or 
faithful minister of Jesus Christ. 2. That 
the ministers of Christ, for the most part, 
have least honour from their own country- 
men, to whom they are best known. 3. 
That although it be so, yet this may not be 
through their own fault, for Christ was so 
amongst his. 

58 And he did not many mighty 
•works there, because of their unbe- 
lief. 

This sin not only locks up the heart of 
a sinner, but also binds up the hands of a 
Saviour. Unbelief obstructed Christ's mi- 
raculous works when on earth, and it ob- 
structs his gracious works now in heaven. 
Ah! cursed unbelief! which shuts up, O 
sinner, thy heart, and shuts out thy Saviour, 
and will eifectually shut thee out of heaven, 
and not only procure damnation, but no 
damnation like it! Mark xiv. 16. Christ 
was unable, because they were unwilling ; 
his impotency was occasioned by their in- 
fidelity : he did not, because he would not ; 
and that he would not, proceeded from a 
defect in their faith, not from any deticiency 
in Christ's power : their unbelief bound his 
hands, and hindered the execution of his 



power. 



CHAP. XIV. 



Tlie former part of this chapter give* us an account 
of the death of John the Baptist, together with 
the occasion of it, which was, his plain and faith- 
ful reproving of Herod for Che uncleanness he 
lived in. 

A T that time Herod the tetrarch 
heard of the fame of Jesus ; 2 
And said unto his servants, This is 
John the Baptist : he is risen from 
the dead ; and therefore mighty 
works do shew forth themselves in 
him. 

Observe here, 1. How strange it was 
that Herod should not hear of the fame of 
Jesus till now : all the country and ad- 
joining regions had rung of his fame, only 
Herod's court hears nothing. Miserable 
is that greatness which keeps princes from 
the knowledge of Jesus Christ. How plain 
it is from hence, that our Saviour came not 



at court ! He once sent indeed a message 
to that fox (Herod) whose den he would 
not approach ; teaching us, by his example, 
not to affect, but to avoid, outward pomp 
and glory. The courts of princes are too 
olten a very bad air for piety and religion 
to thrive in. Observe, 2. The misconstruc- 
tion of Herod, when he heard of our 
Saviour's fame : this, says he, is John the 
Baptist, whom I beheaded. His conscience 
told him he had ottered an unjust violence 
to an innocent man ; and now he is afraid 
that he is come again to be revenged on 
him for liis head. A wicked man needs no 
worse tormentor than his own mind. O 
the terrors and tortures of a gmlty consci- 
ence ! how great are the anxieties of guilt, 
and the fears of divine displeasure, than 
which nothing is more stinging and per- 
petually tormenting! 

3 Far Herod had laid hold on 
John, and bound him, and put him 
in prison for Herodias' sake, his bro- 
ther Philip's wife. 4 For John said 
unto him, It is not lawful for thee to 
have her. 5 And when he would 
have put him to death, he feared the 
multitude, because they counted him 
as a prophet. 

Observe here, 1. The person that puts 
the holy Baptist to death ; it was Herod, it 
was Herod the king, it was Herod that invit- 
ed John to preach at court, and heard him 
gladly. 1. It was Herod Antipas, son to 
that Herod who sought Christ's life, chap, 
ii. Cruelty runs in a blood. Herod, the 
murderer of John who was the forerunner 
of Christ, descended from that Herod who 
would have murdered Christ himself. 2. 
It was Herod the king. Sad ! that princes, 
who should always be nursing-fathers to, 
should at any time be the bloody butchers 
of, the prophets of God. 3. It was Herod 
that heard John gladly : John took the ear 
and the heart of Herod, and Herod binds 
the hands and feet of John. O how in- 
constant is a carnal heart to good resolu- 
tions ! The word has oft-times an awaken- 
ing influence, where it doth not leave an 
abiding impression upon the minds of men. 
Observe, 2. The cause of the Baptist's 
death ; it was for telling a king of his 
crime. Herod cut of that head whose 
tongue was so bold to tell him of his faults. 
The persecution which the prophets of God 
fall under, is usually for telling great men 
of their sins ; men in power are impatient 



70 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. XIV. 



of reproof, and imagine tliat their authority 
gives them a licence to transgress. Observe, 
3. The plain dealing of the Baptist in reprov- 
ing Herod for his crime, which in one act 
was adultery, incest, and violence. Adul- 
tery, that he took another's wife ; incest, that 
he took his brother's wife ; violence, that he 
took her in spite of her husband. There- 
fore John doth not mince the matter, and 
say, It is not convenient ; but. It is not 
la-wful for thee to have her: it was not 
the crown and sceptre of Herod that could 
daunt the faithful messenger of God. There 
ought to meet in God's ministers both cou- 
rage and impartiality. Courage, in fearing 
no faces ; impartiality, in sparing no sins. 
For none are so great but they are under 
the authority and command of the law of 
God. 

6 But when Herod's birth-day 
was kept, the daughter of Herodias 
danced before them, and pleased He- 
rod. 7 Whereupon he promised 
with an oath to give her whatsoever 
she would ask. 8 And she, being 
before instructed of her mother, said. 
Give me here John Baptist's head in 
a charger. 9 And the king was 
sorry : nevertheless, for the oath's 
sake, and them which sat with him 
at meat, he commanded it to be 
given her. 10 And he sent, and 
beheaded John in the prison. 11 
And his head was brought in a char- 
ger, and given to the damsel : and 
she brought it to her mother. 

Several observables are here to be taken 
notice of. 1 . The time of this execrable 
murder: it was upon Herod's birth-day. 
It was an ancient custom among the 
eastern kings to celebrate their birth-days. 
Pharaoh's birth-day was kept. Gen. xl. 
Herod's here ; both with blood : yet these 
]x;rsonal stains do not make the practice ' 
imlawful. When we solemnize our birth- 
day with thankfulness to our Creator and 
Preserver, for life and being, for protection 
and preservation to that moment, and 
commend ourselves to the care of his good 
providence for the remainder of oiu: days, 
this is an act of piety and religion. But 
Herod's birth-day was kept with revelling 
and feasting, with music and dancing : not 
that dancing, which in itself is a set, regular, 
harmonious motion of the body, can be 
unlawful, any more than walking or run- 



ning ; although circumstances may make 
it sinful. But from this disorderly banquet 
on Herod's birth-day, we learn. That great 
men's feasts and frolics are too often a season 
of much sin. Observe, 2. The instigator 
and promoter of the holy Baptist's death, 
Herodias and her daughter : that good man 
falls a sacrifice to the fury and malice, to 
the pride and scorn, of a lustful woman, 
for being a rub in the way of her li- 
centious adultery. Resolute sinners, who 
are mad upon their lusts, run furiously upon 
their gainsayers, though they be the pro- 
phets of God themselves ; and resolve to 
bear down all opposition they meet with in 
the gratification of their unlawful desires. 
Observe, 3. With what reluctance Herod 
consented to this villany ; the king was 
sorry. Wicked men oft-times sin with a 
troubled and disturbed conscience; they 
have a mighty struggle with themselves 
before they commit their sins ; but at last 
their lusts get the mastery over their con- 
sciences. So did Herod's here ; for, 4. 
Notwithstanding his sorrow, he commands 
the fact : he sent and beheaded John in 
the prison. And a threefold cord tied 
him to this performance : 1. The conscience 
of his oath. See his hypocrisy ; he made 
conscience of a rash oath, who made no 
scruple of real murder. 2. Respect to his 
reputation : them that sat with him heard 
him promise, and will be witnesses of his 
levity, if he did not perform. Insisting 
upon punctilios of honour, has hazarded 
the loss of millions of souls. 3. A loathness 
to discontent Herodias and her daughter. 
O vain and foolish hypocrite, who dreaded 
the displeasure of a wanton mistress, before 
the offending of God and conscience ! 
Observe, 5. These wicked women not only 
require the Baptist to be beheaded, but 
that his head be brought in a charger to 
them. What a dish is here to be served 
up at a prince's table on his birth-day ! a 
dead man's head swimming in blood! 
How prodigiously insatiable is cruelty and 
revenge! Herodias did not think herself 
safe till John was dead ; she could not 
think liim dead till his head was off; she 
could not think his head off till she had 
it in her hand. Revenge never thinks it 
has made sure enough. O how cruel is a 
wicked heart, that could take pleasure in a 
spectacle of so much horror ! how was that 
holy head tost by impure and filthy hands ! 
that tnie and faithful tongue, those sacred 
lips, those pure eyes, those mortified cheeks, 
are now insultingly handled by an inces- 



Chap. XIV. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



71 



tuoiis harlot, and made a scorn to the 
drunken eyes of Herod's guests ! From the 
whole learn, 1. That neither the holiest of 
prophets, nor the best ot men, are more 
secure from violence than from natural 
death. He that was sanctified in the womb, 
conceived and born with so nmch miracle, 
lived with so much reverence and observa- 
tion, is now at midnight obscurely murder- 
ed in a close prison. Learn, 2. That it is 
as true a martyrdom to sutler for duty, as 
for faith : he dies as truly a martyr that dies 
for doing his duty, as he that dies for 
professing the faith and bearing witness to 
the truth. 

12 And his disciples came and 
took up the body, and buried it, and 
went and told Jesus. 13 When Je- 
sus heard of it, he departed thence 
by ship into a desert place apart : 
and when the people had heard 
thereof, they followed him on foot 
out of the cities. 

The disciples of John hearing that their 
holy master was thus basely and barba- 
rously murdered, took up his dead body 
and buried it. Whence we learn, That 
the faithful servants of God are not ashamed 
of the suifermgs of the saints, but will 
testify their respect unto them both living 
and dead. Observe farther, How our bless- 
ed Saviour, upon the notice of John's death, 
flies into the desert for the preservation of 
his own life. Jesus knew that his hour 
was not yet come, and therefore he keeps 
out of Plerod's way. It is no cowardice to 
fly from persecutors, when Christ our Cap- 
tain both practises it himself, and directs 
us to it, saying. When thejj persecute you 
in one city, Jlce, St'C. 

14 And Jesus went forth, and 
saw, a great multitude, and was 
moved with compassion toward 
them, and he healed their sick. 

Observe here, i. With what condolency 
and tender sympathy the compassionate 
Jesus exercised acts of mercy and compas- 
sion towards the miserable and distressed ; 
He xcas moved with compassion ; that is, 
touched with an inward sense and feeling 
of their sorrow : And he healed their sick. 
Those that came to Christ for healing, 
found three advantages of cure, above the 
power and performance of any earthly phy- 
sician ; to wit, certainty, bounty, and ease. 
Certainty, in that all comers were infallibly 
cured -, bounty, m that they were freely 



cured, without charge ; and ease, in that 
they were cured without pain. 

15 And when it was evening, his 
disciples came to him, saying. This 
is a desert place, and the time is now 
past ; send the multitude away, that 
they may go into the villages, and 
buy themselves victuals. 

Note here, 1. The disciples' pity to- 
wards the multitude that had long attended 
upon Christ's ministry in the desert : they, 
presuming the people hungry, having fasted 
all the day, request our Saviour to dismiss 
them, that they may procure some bodily re- 
freshment. Learn hence. That it well be- 
comes the ministers of Christ to respect the 
bodily necessities, as well as to regard the 
spiritual wants, of their people. As the 
bodily father must take care of the soul of 
his child, so must the spiritual father have 
respect - to the bodily necessities of his 
children. Observe, 2. The motion which 
the disciples make on the behalf of the mul- 
titude: Send them axvay, that they may 
buy victuals. Here was a strong charity, 
but a weak faith. A strong charity, in 
that they desired the people's relief; but a 
weak faith, in that they suppose they could 
not otherwise be relieved, but by sending 
them away to buy victuals ; forgetting 
that Christ, who had healed the multitude 
miraculously, could as easily feed them 
miraculously, if he pleased ; all things be- 
ing equally easy to Omnipotence. 

16 But Jesus said unto them. 
They need not depart ; give ye them 
to eat. 

Observe here, 1. Our Saviour's strange 
answer to the disciples' motion : They need 
not depart, says Christ Need not! Why, 
the people must either feed or famish. 
Victuals they must have, and this being a 
desert place, there was none to be had. 
Surely then there was need enough. But, 
2. Christ's command was more strange 
than his assertion : Give ye them to eat, 
Alas, poor disciples ! they had nothing for 
themselves to eat: how then should they 
give the multitude to eat ? When Christ 
requires of us what of ourselves we are un- 
able to perform, it is to show us our impo- 
tency and weakness, and to provoke us to 
look to him that worketh all our works in 
zcs and for us. 

17 And they say unto him. We 
have here but five loaves, and two 
fishes. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. XIV. 



Note here, What a poor and slender pro- 
Msion the Lord of the whole earth has for 
his household and family ; five loaves, and 
those barley : two fishes, and they small : 
teachins? us, that these bodies of ours must 
be fed, but not pampered. Our belly must 
not be our master, much less our god. We 
read but twice that Christ made any enter- 
tainments, and both times his guests were 
fed with loaves and fishes ; plain fare and 
homely diet. The end of food is to sustain 
nature, we stifle it with a gluttonous 
variety : meat was ordained for the belly, 
the belly for the body, the body for the 
soul, and the soul for God. Observe far- 
ther. As the quality of the victuals was 
|)lain and coarse, so the quantity of it was 
small and little : five loaves and txDO fishes. 
Well might the disciples say, What are 
these arnong so mamj ? The eye of sense 
■aid reason^ sees an impossibility of those 
etfects which faith can easily apprehend, 
and divine power more easily produce. 

18 He said, Bring them hither to 
nie. 19 And he conimanded the 
multitude to sit down on the grass ; 
and took the five hiaves and the two 
(islies, and, looking up to heaven, he 
blessed, and brake ; and gave the 
loaves to his disciples, and the dis- 
cij)le3 to the multitude. 

Observe, 1. How the Master of fhe feast 
marshals his guests, he commands them all 
to sit doivn ; none of them reply, " Sit 
down ! but to what ? Here are the 
mouths, but where is the meat ? We can 
soon be set, but whence shall we be serv- 
ed ?" Nothing of this : but they obey 
and expect. O how easy is it to trust God, 
and rely upon Providence, when there is 
corn in the barn and bread in the cupboard ! 
But when our stores are all empty, and 
nothing before us, then to depend upon an 
invisible bounty is a true and noble act of 
faith. Observe, 2. The actions perfonned 
by our blessed Saviour, He blessed, and 
lira/iC, and pave the loaves to his disciples, 
and the)/ to the multitude. 1. He blessed, 
teaching us, by his example, in all our wants 
to look up to heaven lor a supply, to wait 
upon God for his blessing, and not to sit 
down to our food as a beast to his forage. 
2. He bi-at;c the loaves. He could have 
multiplied them whole ; why would he 
rather do it in the breaking ? Perhaps to 
teach us, th:it we are to expect his blessings 
in the distribution, rather than in the 



reservation, of what he gives us. Scattering 
is the way to increasing. Not grain hoard- 
ed up in the granary, but scattered in the 
furrows of the field, yields increase. 
Liberality is the way to riches, and penu- 
riousness the road to poverty. 3. Christ 
gave the bread thus broken to his disciples, 
that they might distribute it to the multi- 
tude. But why did not our Lord distribute 
it with his own hand, but by the hands of 
his disciples ? Doubtless to win respect to 
his disciples from the people. The same 
course did our Lord take in spiritual 
distributions. He that could feed the 
world by his immediate hand, chooses 
rather by the hands of his ministers to divide 
the bread of life to all hearers. 

20 And they did all eat, and were 
filled : and they took up of the frag- 
ments that remained twelve baskets 
full. 21 And they that had eaten 
were about five thousand men, beside 
women and children. 

They did all eat, not a crumb or a bit, 
but to satiety and fulness : the^/ did eat, 
and were filled, yet twelve baskets remain- 
ed : more is left than was at first set on. 
So many bellies, and yet so many baskets, 
filled. The miracle was doubled by an act 
of boundless omnipotency. It is hard to 
say, which was the greater miracle, the 
miraculous eating, or the miraculous 
leaving. If we consider what they ate, we 
may justly wonder that they left any thing; 
if what they left, that they ate any thing. 
Observe farther. These fragments, though 
of barley-bread and fish-bones, must not 
be lost ; but by our Saviour's command 
gathered up. The liberal Housekeeper of 
the world will not allow the loss of his orts. 
O how fearful then will the account of 
those be, who have large and plentiful 
estates to answer for as lost, being spent 
upon their lusts in riot and excess ! 
' 22 And straightway Jesus con- 
strained his disciples to get into a 
ship, and to go before him unto the 
other side, while he sent the multi- 
tudes away. 

.Testis constrained them ; that is, he 
commanded them to go aicai/ before him. 
No doubt they were very loath to leave him, 
and to go without him ; both out of the 
love which they bare to him and themselves. 
Such as have once tasted the sweetness of 
Christ, are hardly drawn away from him : 
however, as desirous as the disciples were to 



Chap. XIV. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



73 



stay with Christ, yet at his word of com- 
mand they depart from liim. Where Christ 
has a will to command, his disciples and 
followers must have a will to obey. 

23 And when he had sent the 
multitudes away, he went up into a 
mountain apart to pray : and when 
the evening was come, he was there 
alone. 

Observe here, 1. Christ dismisses the 
jiiultitude, and then retires to pray ; teach- 
ing us, by his example, when we have to 
do with God, to dismiss the multitude of 
our affairs and employments, of our cares 
and thoughts. O how unseemly it is to 
have our tongues talking to God, and our 
thoughts taken up with the world ! Observe, 
2. The place Christ retires to for prayer, a 
solitary mountain ; not so much for his 
own need, for he could be alone when he 
was in company, but to teach us, that 
when we address ourselves to God in duty, 
we are to take all the helps, furtherances, 
and advantages we can, for the doing of it. 
When we converse with God in duty, O 
how good is it to f^et upon a ?nou?itai7i, to 
get our hearts above the world, above 
worldly employments and worldly cogita- 
tions ! Observe, 3. The occasion of 
Christ's prayer ; he had sent the disciples 
to sea, he foresaw the storm arising, and 
now he gets into a mountain to pray for 
them, that their faith might not fail them 
•"vhen their troubles were upon them. 
Learn hence. That it is the singular com- 
fort of the church of God, that in all her dif- 
ficulties and distresses Christ is interceding 
for her ; when she is on the sea conflicting 
with the waves, Christ is upon the moun- 
tain praying for her preservation. 

24 But the ship was now in the 
midst of the sea, tossed with waves : 
for the wind was contrary. 

Note here, The great danger the disciples 
were in, and tVie great difficulties they had 
to encounter with : they were in the midst 
of the sea, they were tossed -with the waves, 
the wind was contran/, and Christ was 
absent. The wisdom of God often suffers 
his church to be tossed upon the waves of 
affliction and persecution, but it shall not 
be swallowed up by them : often is this 
ark of the church upon the waters 5 seldom 
off them; but never drowned. 

25 And in the fourth watch of 
the night Jesus went unto them, 
walkinc; on the sea. 



Christ having seen the distress of his dis- 
ciples on the shore, he hastens to them on 
the sea. It was not a stormy and tem- 
pestuous sea, that could separate betwixt 
him and them ; he that waded through a 
sea of blood, and through a sea of wrath, 
to save his people, will walk upon a sea of 
water to succour and reheve them. But 
observe. The time when Christ came to 
help them, not till the fourth watch, a little 
before the morn ing. They had been many 
hours upon the waters, conflicting with the 
waves, with their fears and dangers. God 
oft-times lengthens out the troubles of his 
children before he delivers them ; but when 
they are come to an extremity, that is the 
season of his succours. As God sutlers his 
church to be brought into extremities before 
he helps her, so he will help her in ex- 
tremity. In the fourth watch Jesus 
ca?ne, Sfc. 

2G And when the disciples saw 
him walking on the sea, they were 
troubled, saying, It is a spirit ; and 
they cried out for fear. 

See how the disciples take their Deliverer 
to be a destroyer : their fears were highest 
when their Deliverer and deliverance were 
nearest. God may be coming with salva- 
tion and deliverance for his church, when 
she for the present cannot discern him. 

27 But straightway Jesus spake 
unto them, saying, Beof good cheer; 
it is I ; be not afraid. 

Observe, When the disciples were in the 
saddest condition, how one word from 
Christ revives them ! It is a sufficient sup- 
port in all our afflictions to hear Christ's 
voice speaking to us, and to enjoy his fa- 
vourable presence with us. Say but, O 
Saviour, It is I; and then little evils do 
their worst: that one word. It is I, is 
enough to lay all storms, and to calm all 
tempests. 

28 And Peter answered him and 
said. Lord, if it be thou, bid me 
come unto thee on the water. 29 
And he said, Come. And when 
Peter was come down out of the 
ship, he walked, on the water, to go 
to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the 
wind boisterous, he was afraid ; 
and beginning to sink, he cried, 
saying. Lord, save me ! 

Observe here, 1 . The mixture of Peter's 
faith and distrust ; it was faith that said, 



74 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. XV 



Master ; it was distrust that said, if it be 
thou : it was faith that said, bid me come 
to thee ; it was faith that enabled him to 
step down on the watery pavement ; it \vas 
faith that said, Lord, save me ; but it was dis- 
trust that made him siiiL O the imperfect 
composition of faith and fear in the best of 
saints here on earth ! sincerity of grace is 
found with the saints here on earth ; perllec- 
tion of grace with the saints in heaven. Here 
the saints look forth, fair as the moon, which 
has some spots in her greatest beauties: 
hereattcr they shall be clear as the sun, 
whose face is all bright and glorious. Ob- 
serve, 2. That whilst Peter oelieves, the sea 
is as firm as brass under him ; when he be- 
gins to fear, then he begins to sink. Two 
hands upheld Exeter ; the hand of Christ's 
power, and the hand of his own faith. 
The hand of Christ's power laid hold on 
Peter, and the hand of Peter's faith laid 
hold on the power of Christ. If we let go 
our hold on Christ, we sink ; if he lets go 
liis hold on us, we drown. Now Peter 
answered his name Cephas, and sunk like 
a stone. 

31 And immediately Jesus stretch- 
ed forth his hand, and caught him, 
and said unto hiin, O thou of little 
faith, wherefore didst thou doubt ? 
32 And when they were come into 
the ship, the wind ceased. 33 Then 
they that were in t!ie ship came and 
worshipped him, saying, Of a truth 
thou art the Son of God. 

Observe here, 1 . The mercy of Christ is 
no sooner sought, but found : Itn- 
mediateli/ Jesus put forth his hand and 
caught him. O with what speed, and with 
what assurance, should we flee to that 
sovereign bounty, from whence never any 
suitor was sent away empty ! Observe, 2. 
Though Christ gave Peter his hand, yet 
with his hand he gave him a check: O thou 
of little faith, ivherefore didst thou douht ?' 
Though Christ likes believing, yet he dis- 
likes doubting. A person may be truly 
believing, who nevertheless is sometimes 
doubting; but his doubting eclipses the 
beauty of his believing. 

34 And when they ■were gone 
over, they came into the land of 
Gennesaret. 35 And when the 
men of that jilace had knowledge 
of him, they sent out into all that 
country round about, and brought 



unto him all that were diseased ; 
36 And besought him that they 
might only touch the hem of his 
garment : and as many as touched 
were made perfectly whole. 

Observe, 1. Our Saviour's unwearied 
diligence in going about to do good : he 
no sooner landeth, but he goeth to 
Gennesaret, and healeth their sick. Ob- 
serve, 2. The people's charity to their sick 
neighbours, in sending abroad to let all the 
country know that Christ the great 
Physician was come amongst them. Ob- 
serve, 3. Where lay the healing virtue ; 
not in their finger, but in their faith ; or 
rather in Christ, whom their faith appre- 
hended. 

CHAP. XV. 
npHEN came to Jesus scribes and 
Pharisees, which were of Je- 
rusalem, saying, 2 Why do thy dis- 
ciples transgress the tradition of 
the elders ? For they wash not 
their hands when they eat bread. 

The former part of this chapter acquaints 
us with a great contest between our Saviour 
and the Pharisees about their traditions and 
old customs, which they valued more than 
the commandments of God : they accused 
the disciples for eating bieadwith unwashed 
hands, which though it were in itself but a 
decent custom, the Pharisees made it a 
religious rite ; for which reason our Saviour 
and his disciples would not observe it. 
Whence we learn. That what is in itself 
and may without offence be done as a civil 
custom, ought to be discountenanced and 
opposed when men require it of us as a 
religious act, or place religion in it. The 
Pharisees placed so much religion in wash- 
ing their hands before meat, that they 
looked upon it as highly criminal to neg- 
lect it as to lie with a whore. One of them 
■ being in prison, and not having water 
enough to drink and to wash his hands too, 
chose rather to die with thirst than to trans- 
gress the tradition of the elders. 

3 But he answered and said unto 
them, Why do ye also transgress the 
commandment of God by your tra- 
dition ? 4 For God commanded, 
saying, Honour thy father and mo- 
ther: and. He that curseth father 
or mother, let him die the death. 
5 But ye say. Whosoever shall say 



Chap. XV. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



75 



to his father or his mother, It is a 
gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be 
profited by me ; 6 And honour not 
his father or his mother, he shall be 
free. Thus have ye made the com- 
mandment of God of none effect by 
your tradition. 

Observe here, 1. The heavy charge 
which our Saviour brings in against the 
Pharisees ; namely, for violating an express 
command of God, and preferring their own 
traditions before it : you make void t/ie 
commandme7its of God by your traditions. 
Observe, 2. The command which our 
Saviour instances in, as violated by them ; 
it is the fifth commandment, which requires 
cliildren to relieve their parents in their 
necessity. Now though the Pharisees did 
not deny this in plain terms, yet they made 
an exception from it, which, if children had 
a mind, rendered it void and useless. For 
the Pharisees taught that in case any would 
give a gift to the temple, which gift they 
called Corban, and of which they them- 
selves had a great share ; that then children 
were discharged from making any farther 
provision for their poor, aged, or impotent 
parents ; and might say unto them after this 
manner. That which thou askest for thy 
supply, is given to God, and therefore I 
cannot relieve thee. So that covetous and 
graceless children looked upon it as the 
most frugal way, once for all to fine to the 
temple, rather than pay the constant rent of 
daily relief to their poor parents. Learn, 
That no duty, gift, or offering to God is 
accepted; M'here the duty of charity is neg- 
lected. It is more acceptable to God, to re- 
fresh the bowels of his saints, who are the 
living temples of the Holy Ghost, than to 
adorn material temples with gold and silver. 

7 Ye hypocrites ! well did Esaias 
prophesy of you, saying, 8 This 
people draweth nigh unto me with 
their mouth, and honoureth me with 
their lips : but their heart is far 
from me. 9 But in vain they do 
worship me, teaching for doctrines 
the commandments of men. 

Our Saviour reproves the hypocritical 
Pharisees for these things: 1. That they 
preferred human traditions before the divine 
precepts. 2. That by their human tra- 
chtions they made void the worship of God. 
It is God's imdoubted prerogative to pre- 
scribe all the parts of his own worship ; and 



whosoever presumes to add thereunto, they 
worship liim in vain. Our Saviour farther 
shows, that all this proceeded from the 
insincerity of their hearts : This people 
honoureth me with their lips, but their 
heart is far from me. Whence learn, 1. 
That the removing of the heart far from 
God in worship is a great sin, and an high 
degree of hypocrisy. 2. That whatever 
outward show and profession of religion 
men make, if their hearts be not right with 
God, and what they do proceed not from 
an inward principle of love and obedience 
to God, they are under the reign and power 
of hypocrisy : Ye hypocrites, iji vain do 
you worship me. Learn, 3. That we must 
not be forward, from Christ's example, to 
pronounce men hypocrites ; because we 
have neither that authority nor knowledge 
of the heart which Christ had, to authorize 
us so to do. Christ here called the Phari- 
sees hypocrites; 1. Because they placed 
holiness and religion in ceremonies of 
human invention. 2. Because, being so 
superstitiously careful to avoid bodily pol- 
lutions, they left their hearts within full of 
hypocrisy and iniquity. 

10 And he called the multitude, 
and said unto them. Hear, and un- 
derstand : 11 Not that which goeth 
into the mouth defileth a man ; but 
that which coraeth out of the mouth, 
this defileth a man. 

Our blessed Saviour, leaving the Phari- 
sees with some dislike, applies himself to 
the multitude, and shows them the true 
spring and original fountain of all spiritual 
pollution and uncleanness ; namely, the 
filthiness and impurity of man's heart and 
nature; when boiling in the heart, the 
scum runs out at the mouth : whereby 
informing the multitude, that not that 
which is eaten, but that which is spoken, 
defiles a man : not the meat eaten with the 
mouth, but the wickedness of the heart 
vented by the mouth, pollutes a person 
in God's account. 

12 Then came his disciples, and 
said unto him, Knowest thou that 
the Pharisees were offended, after 
they heard this saying? 13 But 
he answered and said, Every plant 
which my heavenly Father hath not 
planted, shall be rooted up. 14 Let 
them alone : they be blind leaders 
of the blind. And if the blind lead 



tG 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. XV 



the blind, both shall fall into the 
ditch. 

Observe here, 1. How the disciples 
wonder that our Saviour did so little regard 
the displeasure of the Pharisees, Knoxvest 
thou that the Pharisees were offended? 
Although nothing vexed the Pharisees more 
than the discovery of their false doctrine 
before the multitude, yet our Saviour did 
not stick to detect their errors, and to declare 
the truth, let the effects of their displeasure 
be what they would : sinful man-pleasing 
is fruitless and endless. Observe, 2. Our 
Lord's answer, which shows a double reason 
why he thus slighted the offence taken by 
the Pharisees. 1. He compares the Phari- 
sees' doctrine and tradition to noisome 
weeds in the church, planted there not by 
God, but themselves; and consequently 
shall certainly be rooted up. In matters of 
religion, if men will act according to the 
dictates of their own fancies, and not walk 
by the rule of God's word, they may please 
themselves perhaps, but they can never 
please their Maker. Divine institution is 
the only sure rule of religious worship. 2. 
Christ compares the Pharisees themselves to 
blind guides. They are blind leaders of 
the blind : leaders and followers both 
blind, who vrAX certainly and suddenly /a// 
into the ditch of temporal and eternal 
destruction. Learn, L That ignorant, 
erroneous, and unfaithful ministers, are the 
heaviest judgments that can befall a people. 
2. That the following of such tea.chers and 
blind guides will be no excuse to people 
another day, much less free them from the 
danger of eternal destruction. 

15 Then answered Peter, and said 
unto him, Declare unto us this para- 
ble. IG And Jesus said, Are ye also 
without understanding ? 17 Do not 
ye yet understand, that whatsoever 
entereth in at the mouth goeth into 
the belly, and is cast out into the 
draught ? 18 But those things which 
proceed out of the mouth come forth 
from the heart ; and they defile the 
man. 19 For out of the heart pro- 
ceed evil thoughts, murders, adulte- 
ries, fornications, thefts, false wit- 
ness, blasphemies. 20 These are 
the thinfjs which defile a man : but 
to eat with unwashen hands dcfileth 
not a man. 

The disciples desiring the interpretation 



of the foregoing parable, our Saviour gives 
it them ; but withal expostulates with them, 
that they did not vmderstand a thing so 
obvious and plain : Are ye yet without 
understanding ? As it he had said, 
" Have ye sat thus long under my minis- 
terial teaching, and enjoyed the benefit of 
my company and conversation, and yet are 
no farther proficients in knowledge f*" 
Whence learn. That our Lord expects a 
proficiency in knowledge from us, answer- 
able to the opportunities and means of 
knowledge enjoyed by us. Next he gives 
them the sense and signification of the pa- 
rable ; telling them, that it is out of a sinful 
heart that all sin proceeds : the heart is the 
cage or nest, which is full of these unclean 
birds, and from whence they take their 
flight. Though the occasions of sin are 
from without, yet the source and original 
of sin is from within. Learn, That the 
heart of man is the sink and seed-plat of all 
sm, and the fountain of all pollution ; the 
life could not be so bad, if the heart were not 
worse : all the irregularity of our lives flows 
from the impurity of our hearts and na- 
tures. 

21 Then Jesus went thence, and 
departed into the coasts of Tyre and 
Sidon. 22 And, behold, a woman 
of Canaan came out of the same 
coasts, and cried unto him, saying. 
Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou 
son of David ; my daughter is griev- 
ously vexed with a devil. 

Observe here. The constant employment 
of our Saviour : he went about doing good, 
from place to place. In the borders of 
Tyre and Sidon he finds a faithful woman 
of the race of the Canaanites, who becomes 
an humble supplicant to Christ, while the 
Jews neglected so great salvation. Yea, 
she not only speaks, but cries unto him. 
Were we duly affected with our spiritual 
-wants, we could speak to God in no other 
language than that of cries and tears ; no- 
thing but cries can pierce heaven. Observe, 
2. Though all Israel could not example 
the faith of this Canaanite, yet was her 
daughter tormented with a devil. Learn, 
That neither truth nor strength of faith can 
secure us either against Satan's inward 
temptations, or outward vexations; and 
consequently, the worst of bodily afflictions 
are no sufhcient proof of divine displeasure. 
Observe, 3. The daughter did not come to 
CJhrist for herself, but the mother for her. 
Perhaps the child was not sensible of its 



Chap. XV. 



ST. MATTHEW, 



77 



own misery, but the good mother feels both 
the child's sorrow and her o^vn. Tme 
goodness teaches us to appropriate the 
afflictions of others to ourselves ; it causes 
us to bear their griefs, and to sympathize 
with them in their sorrows. 

23 But he answered her not a 
word. And his disciples came and 
besought hira, saying:, Send her 
away ; for she crieth after us. 

Strange ! that a miserable supplicant 
should cry and sue, whilst the God of 
mercy is speechless. What ! is the foun- 
tain of mercy dried up ? O Saviour ! we 
have oft found cause to wonder at thy 
words, but never till now at thy silence. 
Learn hence. That Christ doth sometimes 
delay to return an answer to a well qua- 
lified prayer. Sometimes his people do not 
pray earnestly enough ; sometimes they 
pray too earnestly for some outward and 
temporal mercy ; sometimes the mercy they 
pray for is not good for them, or may be it 
is not ?/et good for them. Let us not then 
judge of God's hearing prayer by his present 
answer. 

24 But he answered and said, I 
am not sent but unto the lost sheep 
of the house of IsraeL 

Observe, When our Saviour doth an- 
swer, he gives not one word of comfort, but 
rather a repulse. Christ has often-times 
love in his heart to his people, when they 
can read none in his countenance, nor 
gather it from his discourse. Observe, 
The answer itself : Christ says not, I am 
not sent but unto the lost sheep of the 
house of Adam, but, to the lost sheep of 
Israel. The Jews are compared unto sheep, 
the Gentiles unto dogs. Christ insinuates, 
that though she were a lost sheep of Adam, 
yet not being one of the lost sheep of Israel, 
he could do nothing for her. It was a com- 
mon saying among the Jews, " That the 
nations of the world were likened to 
dogs, whereas they were God's sons and 
daughters." 

25 Then came she and worship- 
ped him, saying, Lord, help me ! 

Yet hath not this poor woman done ; 
Christ's former silence, and his present 
denial, cannot silence her. She comes, 
she worships, she cries, Lord, help me. 
O what an undaunted grace is the grace of 
faith! It lias a strong heart, and a bold 
forenead ; peremptory denials cannot 



dismay it. This woman will not despond, 
though her prayer of faith, from the knees 
of humility, succeed not. 

26 But he answered and said, 
It is not meet to take the children's 
bread, and to cast it to dogs. 

Observe here. The seeming severity of 
Christ to this poor woman, he calls her not 
a woman, but a dog ; and as it were spurns 
her from his feet with an harsh repulse. 
Did ever so severe a word drop from those 
mild lips ? What shall we say ? Is the 
Lamb of God turned a lion ; that a woman 
in distress imploring pity, yea, a good 
woman, and an humble supplicant, should 
be thus rated out of Christ's presence for a 
dog ? Learn hence. That Christ puts the 
strongest faith of his own children upon the 
severest trials ; the trial had never been so 
sharp, if her faith had not been so strong. 
Usually, where God gives much grace, he 
tries grace much. 

27 And she said. Truth, Lord : 
yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which 
fall from their master's table. 

Observe, How her humility grants all, her 
patience overcomes all ; she meekly desires 
to possess the dog's place ; not to crowd to 
the table, but to creep under it, and to par- 
take of the crumbs of mercy that fall from 
thence. Indeed she showed one of the best 
qualities of a dog, in keeping her hold where 
she had once fastened, not letting go or 
giving over, until she had gotten what she 
desired. Learn hence. That nothing is so 
pleasing unto Christ, as to see liis people 
following him with faith and importunity, 
when he seems to withdraw from them. 

28 Then Jesus answered and said 
unto her, O woman, great is thy 
faith : be it unto thee even as thou 
wilt. And her daughter was made 
whole from that very hour. 

The disciples observing her behaviour, 
might have been ready to say, O woman, 
great is thy patience, great is thy humility : 
but, says Christ, Great is tin/ faith : he 
sees the root, we the branches. Nothing 
but faith could thus temper the heart, thus 
strengthen the soul, thus charm the tongue. 
O powerful grace of faith, which Christ 
himself could no longer withstand, but 
cries out as a person overcome by the pre- 
valency of it, O woman, great is thy faith. 
Note, That no grace ever goes away from 
Christ uncrowned ; though we may wait 
long for a mercy, yet the hand of faith 



78 



ST, MATTHEW. 



Chap. XV. 



never knocked in vain at the door of hea- 
ven. Mercy is as surely ours as if we had 
it, if we have but faith and patience to wait 
for it. This good woman found it so, to 
her unspeakable comfort; and the same 
shall we find, in the exercise of the same 
grace. Quest. But how doth tliis poor 
woman's faith appear to be great faith ? 
AnsxL\ Because having no promise to rely 
upon, and suffering so many repulses with 
seeming contempt, she still retamed a good 
hope of Christ's kindness and mercy. 
Learn hence, 1. That the faith of those 
who, depending on God's goodness, do 
place an humble confidence in God, and 
are not by great temptations or discourage- 
ments removed from that their confidence; 
such faith is deservedly styled great faith. 
2. That the faith of believing Gentiles was 
not only praiseworthy and well-pleasing to 
God, but more excellent and better pleas- 
ing than that of the Jews, to whom the 
promises did belong. 

29 And Jesus departed from 
thence, and came nigh unto the sea 
of Galilee ; and went up into a 
njountaui, and sat down there. 30 
And great multitudes came unto him, 
having with them those that were 
lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and 
many others, and cast them down at 
Jesus' feet ; and he healed them : 31 
Insomuch that the multitude won- 
dered, when they saw the dumb to 
speak, the maimed to be whole, the 
lame to walk, and the blind to see : 
and they glorified the God of Israel. 

Observe here, 1. The charity, 2. The 
faith of the multitude, in bringing the 
blind, the deaf, and the dumb, to Christ : 
their charity, in lending eyes to the blind, 
and a tongue to the dumb ; who could 
neither come to Christ themselves, nor 
speak for themselves. Every man has a 
tongue to speak for himself, happy is he 
that has a tongue to pray and intercede for 
others ; this charity did the people exer- 
cise here. Observe also. Their faith ; they 
laid the lame and blind down at Jesus' feet 
relying upon his power, and believing his 
willingness to help and heal them. Ob- 
serve farther. The effects of this miracle upon 
the multitude; it was two-fold : 1. They 
were struck with admiration and wonder, 
lo see such cures wrought as exceeded the 
course of nature, and tlie power of art. 2. 



Thev glorified the God of Israel; that is, 
they acknowledged it to be a wonderful 
work of power and mercy wrought by that 
God whom Israel worshipped. Whence 
we learn. That the miraculous works of 
Christ, which he wrought before the mul- 
titude, were obvious to their senses ; and 
did constrain the beholders (if not blinded 
with Pharisaical obstinacy) to acknowledge 
the power of God communicated to Christ, 
and to praise him for it : The multitude 
marvelled, and glorified Go J. 

32 Then Jesus called his disciples 
unto him, and said, I have compas- 
sion on the multitude, because they 
continue with me now three days, 
and have nothing to eat : and I 
will not send them away fasting, lest 
they faint in the way. 33 And his 
disciples say unto him. Whence 
should we have so much bread in 
the wilderness, as to fill so great a 
multitude ? 34 And Jesus saith un- 
to them. How many loaves have ye ? 
And they said. Seven, and a few 
little fishes. 35 And he command- 
ed the multitude to sit down on the 
ground. 36 And. he took the seven 
loaves and the fishes, and gave 
thanks, and brake them, and gave to 
his disciples, and the disciples to 
the multitude. 

Here we have the second miracle of 
Christ's compassionate feeding the hungry 
multitude. Chapter xiv. we read of five 
thousand fed with five loaves and two 
fishes ; here Christ feeds four thousand with 
seven loaves and a few small fishes. 
Where observe. That Christ fed fewest 
when he had most provision ; when he had 
seven loaves he fed but four thousand; 
,when he had five loaves he fed live thou- 
sand. Thus the wisdom and power of 
Christ is glorified by him as he pleases 
The feeding of one thousand with one loaf, 
was as true a miracle as the feeding seven 
thousand. Our Savioiur did put forth the 
power of his Godhead in working miracles, 
after what manner seemed best to his own 
wisdom. Observe farther, A double action 
performed by our Saviour: He gave 
thanks ; that is, he prayed for a blessing 
upon the food. Teaching us our duty, that 
if the Son of God did look up to heaven, 
and bless his food, we should not sit down 



Chap. XVI. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



79 



to our food as a beast to his fodder, without 
craving a blessing upon if. The next 
action was, He gave to his disciples. But 
why did he distribute tire loaves by the 
hands of his disciples ? Ansxv. Because the 
disciples questioned, through the weakness 
of their faith, whether such a multitude as 
four thousand could be fed with so small a 
provision as seven loaves. Now our Sa- 
viour to convince them how easily he could 
do that thing which they had judged 
impossible, distributes the bread by them : 
making use of their own eyes and hands, 
for their conviction and satisfaction. Thus 
Clirist, to shame the unbelief of his disciples, 
makes them not only spectators but actors 
in that work, which they judged to be 
impossible to be effected. 

37 And they did all eat, and were 
filled : and they took up of the 
hroken meat that was left seven bas- 
kets full. 38 And they that did eat 
were four thousand men, beside wo- 
men and children. 39 And he sent 
away the multitude, and took ship, 
and came into the coasts of Magdala. 

T/uy did all eat, not a crumb or bit, 
but to fulness and satisfaction ; yet seven 
baskets remain ; answering the number of 
the loaves, as the twelve baskets in the for- 
mer miracle answered the twelve apostles ; 
in both, more is left than was at first set on : 
it is bard to say, which was the greater 
miracle, the miraculous eating or miraculous 
leaving. If we consider what they eat, 
we may justly wonder that they left any 
thing ; if what they left, that they eat any 
thing. Observe, lastly, Christ would not 
have these fragments lost, but gathered up : 
the great Housekeeper of the world will not 
allow the loss of his orts. O how dreadful 
will the account of those be, who have 
large and plentiful estates to answer for as 
lost, being spent upon their lusts in riot and 
excess. Dr. Fuller. 

CHAP. XVI. 

T^HE Pharisees also with the Sad- 
duceescame, and tempting, de- 
sired him that he would shew them 
a sign from heaven. 2 He answer- 
ed and said unto them, When it is 
evening, ye say, It ivill he fair wea- 
ther ; for the sky is red : 3 And in 
the morning. It will he foul weather 
to-day ; for the sky is red and 



lowring. O ye hypocrites I ye can 
discern the face of the sky ; but 
can ye not discern the signs of the 
times .=* 4 A wicked and adulterous 
generation seeketh after a sign ; and 
there shall no sign be given unto it, 
but the sign of the prophet Jonas. 
And he left them, and departed. 

Observe here, 1. The persons demand- 
ing of our Saviour a sign, the Pharisees and 
Sadducees, persons of contrary opinions and 
interests ; yet both agree in tempting and 
opposing Christ. Learn thence. That 
wicked men how opposite soever they are 
to one another, yet can agree together in 
opposing Christ, and undermining his 
truth. Observe, 2. The sign demanded. 
Skew us a sign from heaven : as if they had 
said. Put us not off \vith such earthly signs 
as we nave seen, in multiplying loaves ; but 
let us see a miracle from heaven, such as 
Moses and Elias wrouglit This they 
desired, not so much for their satisfaction, 
as out of curiosity, nay, wicked treachery. 
Learn thence, That to demand a sign, not 
to confirm our faith, but to harden our- 
selves in our unbelief, is a dangerous 
tempting of Christ. Observe, 3. Our Sa- 
viour's rejection of this demand of the 
Pharisees to give them a sign : O ye 
hypocrites, says he, ye can discern the face 
of the sky, but ye cannot discern the signs 
of the times. As if Christ had said, " Did 
not malice and obstinacy blind your eyes, 
ye might as easily see and discern that these 
are the times of the Messias, and that I am 
he, by the miracles wrought by me, as you 
can make a judgment of the weather, by 
looking upon the sky." Learn, That to 
pretend more ignorance and uncertainty in 
discerning the signs of gospel times, than 
the signs of the weather, is great hypocrisy : 
Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of 
the sky, but can ye not discern the signs 
of the times I Observe lastly. That our 
Saviour doth not condemn the study of 
nature, or making observation of the state 
of the weather from the face of the sky. 
All that our Saviour blamed was, that they 
were better skilled in the signs of the 
weather, than in the signs of the times. 
As God by natural signs gives us warning 
of a change in natural things ; so by his 
providential dispensations he gives us 
waruing of a change in civil things. He 
that is wise will observe these things ; and 
by their observations will come to under- 
stand the pleasure of the Lord. 



80 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. XVI. 



5 And when his tlisciples were 
come to the other side, they had for- 
ijotteii to taiie bread. G Then Jesus 
said unto them, Taiie heed, and be- 
ware of tiie leaven of the Pharisees 
and of the Sathiucees. 7 And they 
reasoned amonn themselves, sayintj-, 
It is because we have taken no breacJ. 
8 Which when Jesus perceived, he 
said unto tliem, O ye of little faith, 
why reason ye among yourselves, be- 
cause ye have brought no bread ? 9 
Do ye not yet understand, neither re- 
member the Hve loaves of the five 



judgments are to be avoided, as well as 
those that are lewd and wicked in the^r 
con versations. He that has a due care of his 
soul's salvation, must as well beware of 
erroneous principles as of debauched prac- 
tices. Observe, 4. Our Saviour does not 
command his disciples to separate from 
communion with the Pharisees, and oblige 
them not to hear their doctrine ; but only 
to beware of the errors that they mixed 
with their doctrine. We may and ought 
to hold communion with a church, though 
erroneous in doctrine, if not fundamentally 
erroneous. Separation from a church is not 
justifiable upon any other ground, than 
that which makes a separation between God 



tliousand, and how many baskets ye and that church: which is either the apos- 



tasy of that church into gross idolatry, or 
in point of doctrine into damnable heresy, 
or imposing sinful terms of communion. 

13 When Jesus came into the coasts 
of Cesarea Philippi, he asked his dis- 



took u|) ? 10 Neither the seven loaves 
of the four thousand, and how many 
baskets ye took up ? 1 1 How is it 
that ye do not understand that I 
spake it not to you concerning; bread, 

that ye should beware of the leaven of ciples, saying, Whom do men say 
the Pharisees and of the Sadducees ? that I, the Son of man, am ? 14 And 
12 Then understood they how that he they said, Some say that thou art 
bade them not beware of the leaven John the Baptist ; some, Elias ; and 
of bread, but of the doctrine of the others, Jeremias, or one of the pro- 
Pharisees and of the Sadducees. 

Observe here, 1. How dull the disciples 
of Christ were under Christ's own teaching, 
how apt to put a carnal sense upon his 
words ; they apprehended he had spoken to 
them of the leaven of bread, what he intend- 
ed of the leaven of the Pharisees' doctrine. 
Observe, 2. The smart and sharp reproof 
which Christ gave his disciples, for not un- 
derstanding the sense and signification of 
what he spake. The Lord Jesus Christ is 
much displeased with his own people, when 
he discerns blindness and ignorance in them, 
after more than ordinary means of knowledge 
enjoyed by them : Jhw is it that ye do not 
1/et understand? Observe, 3. The meta- 
phor which Christ sets forth the corrupt 



phets. 15 He saith unto them. But 
whom say ye that 1 am? 16 AndSi- 
mon Peter answered and said, Thou 
art the Christ, the Son of the living- 
God. 17 And Jesus answered and 
said unto him, Blessed art thou, Si- 
mon Bar-jona : for flesh and blood 
hath not revealed it unto thee, but 
my Father which is in heaven. 

Observe here, 1. Our Saviour's question, 
and the disciples' answer. Our Saviour's 
question is two-fold : 1. Whom do men sai/ 
that I ajn ? Not that the Son of God 
was ignorant what men said of him, but he 
had an intention more firmly to settle and 
establish his disciples in the belief of his 



doctrine of the Pharisees by ; he compares "being the promised Messias. And there 



it to leaven partly for its sourness, and part- 
ly for its diffusiveness. Leaven is a piece of 
sourdough, that diffuses itself into the whole 
mass or lump of bread with which it is mix- 
ed. From whence our Saviour intimates, 
that the Pharisees were a sour and proud 
sort of people : and their doctrines like 
themselves, poisonous and pernicious in 
their consequences : the contagion of which 
our Lord warns his disciples to avoid and 
shun. Whence learn. That error is as 
damnable as vice; persons erroneous in their 



fore, 2. He puts the question to them. 
Whom do you, my disciples, sajf that I 
am ? " You, that have heard the holiness 
of my doctrine, and seen the divinity of my 
miracles ; what say you to me : and what 
confession do you make of me." Christ 
expects greater measures of grace and 
knowledge, and higher degrees of affiance 
and faith, from those that have enjoyed the 
greatest means of grace and knowledge. 
The disciples were eye and ear witnesses of his 
doctrine and miracles, and accordingly he 



Chap. XVI. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



81 



expects from them a full confession of his 
divinity. Observe, 2. The answer return- 
ed, 1. By the apostles in general : And 
theij said. Some say that thou art John 
the Baptist ; some Elias ; some Jeremias. 
It is no new thing, it seems, to find diver- 
sity of judgments and opinions concerning 
Christ and the atiairs of his kingdom. We 
find that when our Saviour was amongst 
men, who daily both saw and heard hmi, 
yet there was then a diversity of opinions 
concerning hmi. 2. Peter, in the name of 
the rest, and as the mouth of all the apostles, 
makes a full and open confession of his 
being the Son of God : Thou art Christ, 
the Son of the living God. Whence note, 
That the veil of Christ's human nature did 
not keep the eye of his disciples' faith from 
seeing him to be the Son of God as well as 
the Son of man ; IViou art Christ, the 
Son of the living God. Observe, 3, How 
highly pleased our Saviour was with this 
confession ; he pronounces Peter, and the 
rest in him, blessed, who had by him made 
this christian confession : Blessed art thou, 
Simon ; and tells him, 1. What did not 
enable him to make that confession. Not 
fesh and blood: that is, not man, nor the 
wisdom and reason of man. 2. But, posi- 
tively, God the Father, by the operation of 
his Spirit, and the dispensation of the gos- 
pel, has wrought this divine faith in you, 
and drawn forth this glorious confession 
from you, that I am indeed the Son of God. 
Thence learn. That no man can savingly 
believe that Jesus Christ is the eternal Son 
of God, and Saviour of the world, but he 
in whom God himself by his holy Spirit 
has wrought such a persuasion by the mi- 
nistry of the gospel. 

18 And I say also unto thee, That 
thou art Peter ; and upon this rock 
I will build ray church ; and the gates 
of hell shall not prevail against it. 

Observe here, 1. As Peter confessed 
Christ, so Christ confesses him : Peter said, 
Thou art Christ; Christ says. Thou art 
Pe/er, alluding to his name, which signifies 
a rock ; he having made good that title, by 
the strength, stability, and firmness of his 
faith. Observe, 2. A double promise made 
by Christ to Peter. 1. For the building : 
2. For the upholding of his church. For 
the building of his church; 1. Upon this 
rock will I build my church. Upon what 
rock ? « Upon Peter, the rock con- 
fessing," say the Papists: but if so, no 
more is said of Peter here, than of all the 



apostles elsewhere, Gal. ii. 9. James and 
John are called pillars as well as Peter. So 
that Peter's superiority over the rest of the 
apostles can with no show of reas*n be from 
hence inferred. " Upon Christ the Rock 
confessed," say the Protestants ; for Christ 
is the Foundation-Stone, upon which liis 
church is built, Ephes. ii. 20. Ye are 
built upon the foundation of the apostles 
and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being 
the chief Corncr-Stone. So then, not upon 
Peter the rock confessing, but upon Christ 
the Rock confessed, and upon the rock of 
Peter's confession, that fundamental truth. 
That Christ is the Son of the living God, is 
the church built. Upon this rock will I 
build my church ; Super hanc confessionis 
tucB Petram mdificabo ecclesiam meam. 
Yet Christ may here be said to build his 
church upon Peter, because he used St. 
Peter's ministry in laying the foundation of 
a christian church among the Jews and 
Gentiles ; he being the first preacher of 
that faith which he here confessed, first to 
the Jews, Acts ii. and then to the Gentiles, 
Acts X. And accordingly, St. Peter's con- 
version of three thousand souls by his 
ministry, Acts ii. 41. is looked upon by 
some as a punchial fulfilling of this promise 
here made unto him. He was styled the 
rock, because he laid the foundations of 
faith among the nations, that is, the first 
foundations of a christian church in the 
world. Whence it appears, that in this 
matter St. Peter neither had nor can have 
a successor ; but if the Pope will pretend to 
be his successor in this affair, he must not 
sit at Rome, lording it there over God's 
heritage, but must go in person to the 
unbelieving Jews, and unconverted hea- 
thens, as Peter did; and labour by his 
preaching to bring over the Turk, the Jew, 
and the infidel, to Christianity. Observe 
next, our Saviour's promise for the uphold- 
ing, as well as the building, of his church : 
The gates of hell shall not prevail against 
it ; that is, all the policy and power of the 
devil and his instruments shall neither de- 
stroy my church, nor extinguish the light of 
this divine tnith, which thou hast now 
made confession of; namely, " That I am 
the tnie Messias, the Son of the living God." 
Note, 1. That Jesus Christ is the Builder, 
and will be the Upholder, of his church. 
2. That the church, upheld by Christ's 
power and promise, shall never be van- 
quished by the devil's poUcy or strength : 
Upon this rock, ^c. and the gates, S^c. 
By the gates of hell understand, 1. The 



02 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. XVI. 



wisdom of hell ; gates being the seat of 
counsel. 2. The censures and sentence of 
hell, gates being the place of judicature. 
3. By the gates of hell, understand the 
arms and power of hell, gates being a place 
of strength and guards. So that when 
Christ secures against hell, he secures 
against all that receive their commission 
from hell : neither hell, nor any envenom- 
ed by hell, shall prevail against my church. 

19 And 1 will give unto thee the 
keys of the kingdom of heaven : and 
whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth 
shall he bound in heaven ; and what- 
soever thou shalt loose on earth shall 
he loosed in heaven. 

Observe here, 1. The person to whom 
this promise is made, namely, to Peter, 
with the rest of the apostles : the confession 
being made by him in the name of the rest. 
Elsewhere we find the same authority and 
power given to them all, which is here 
committed unto Peter ; John xx. 23. 
Whose sins soever ye remit, thej/ are re- 
mitted. Although there might he. a pri- 
ority of order amongst the apostles, yet no 
superiority of power was founded in any 
one of them over and above the rest 
Observe, 2. The power promised ; I toill 
give thee the kei/s of the kingdom ofhea- 
ven ; that is, the key of doctrine, and the 
key of discipline, or full power and au- 
thority to preach the gospel, to adminis- 
ter sacraments, and execute church-cen- 
sures. The speech is metaphorical, and 
alludes to stewards and officers in great 
houses, to whose trust the keys of the house- 
hold are committed. Christ's ministers are 
the stewards of his house, into whose hands 
the keys of his church are committed by 
Christ : the Pope would snatch them out 
of all hands, and keep them in his own ; 
he snatches at Peter's keys, but makes ship- 
wreck of Peter's faith : arrogating Peter's 
power, but abrogating his holy profession. 
Learn, 1. T'nat the authority and power 
which the ministers of the gospel do exer- 
cise and execute, is from Christ! I xoill 
give thee the }ce7/s of the kingdom. 2. 
That this power of the keys Cln-ist dis- 
pensed promiscuously to all his apostles, 
and never designed it as peculiarly for St. 
Peter. As they all made the same profes- 
sion of faith by Peter, so they all received 
the same authority and power with Peter. 
And, accordingly, the apostles exercised 
their office independently of Peter, in con- 
verting those of the circumcision as well as 



he. And St. Paul, who was the apostle 
of the Gentiles, opened the kingdom of 
heaven to far more Gentiles than ever 
Peter did ; and therefore had this key of the 
kingdom of heaven given to him, as much 
as to St. Peter. 

20 Then charged he his disciples, 
that they should tell no man that he 
was Jesus the Christ. 

That is, till after his resuiTection. It 
may seem strange that our Saviour should 
charge his disciples to tell no man that hts 
was Jesus the Christ, seeing the knowledge 
of it was so necessary. The reason is 
conceived to be : 1 . Because the glory of 
his godhead was not to be fully manifest- 
ed till after his resurrection, and then to be 
published by himself, and confirmed' by his 
own miracles. 2. Lest the knowledge of 
it should have hindered his death : for, had 
the rulers hioxvn, they -would not have cru- 
cified the Lord of glory. Learn, That Christ 
has his own fit times, and proper seasons, 
in which he reveals his own mysteries to 
the world. 3. That Christ was so intent 
upon his laying down his life for sinners, 
that he would not have his death hindered 
by an untimely declaration of his being 
truly and really God ; after his death it was 
that he declared himself to be the Son of 
God with power, by the resurrection from 
the dead. 

21 From that time forth began 
Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how 
that he must go unto Jerusalem, and 
suffer many things of the elders and 
chief priests and scribes, and be 
killed, and be raised again the third 
day. 

Observe, 1 . The wisdom of our Saviour, 
m acquainting his disciples with the near 
approach of his death and sufferings. This 
he did for several reasons: 1. To let them 
understand that he was really God, (as they 
had just before confessed him to be,) by 
his foreknowing and foretelling things to 
come. 1 . To convince them of their error, 
in apprehending that his kingdom was of 
this world, and that he was to reign here as 
a temporal Prince. 3. To prevent their 
being offended at his sufferings, and to pre- 
pare them for their own ; that they might 
neither shrink at them, nor sink under 
them. Observe, 2. The persons foretold by 
Christ, that should be the bloody actors 
in the tragedy of his death : namely, the 



Chap. XVI. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



as 



rulers and chief priests : it was the poor 
that received Christ, and embraced the gos- 
pel ; it was the great ones of the world that 
rejected him, and set him at nought ; and 
the rulei-s both in church and state con- 
demned and crucified him. 

22 Then Peter took him, and 
began to rebuke him, saying, Be it 
far from thee. Lord : this shall not 
be unto thee. 

No doubt Peter spake all this out of a 
sincere intention, and with a singular atiec- 
tion towards our Saviour ; but pious in- 
tentions and good affections will not justify 
unwarrantable actions. From this counsel 
of St. Peter to Christ, we learn, 1. How 
ready flesh and blood is to oppose all that 
tends to suffering : Master, spare thyself. 
2. What need have we to be fortified 
against the temptations of friends as well as 
of enemies ; for Satan can make good men 
his instruments to do his work when they 
little think of it. Peter little suspected that 
Satan set him on work to hinder the re- 
demption of mankind, by dissuading Christ 
from dying. But observe in the next verse 
with what indignation Christ rejects Peter's 
advice. 

23 But he turned, and said unto 
Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan : 
thou art an offence unto me : for 
thou savourest not the things that be 
of God, but those that be of men. 

Christ looked upon Peter with anger and 
displeasure ; Christ heard Satan speaking 
in Peter. It was Peter's tongue, but Satan 
tuned it ; therefore Christ calls Peter by 
Satan's name ; they that will do the devil's 
work, shall have the devil's name too. 
He that would hinder the redemption of 
mankind, is Satan, an adversary to man- 
kind. From our Saviour's smart reproof 
given to Peter, learn. That no love or re- 
spect to men's persons or piety must draw 
us to flatter them in their sins, or cause us 
to speak lightly of their sins. From our 
Saviour's resolution not to favour himself, 
notwithstanding Peter's advice, learn. That 
so intent was the heart of Christ upon the 
great work of man's redemption, that he 
could not bear the least word that should 
obstruct him in it, or divert him from it. 

24 Then said Jesus unto his dis- 
ciples, If any man will come after 
me, let him deny himself, and take 
up his cross, and follow me. 



Observe here, 1. IIow our Saviour re- 
commends his religion to every man's 
choice ; not attempting by force and vio- 
lence to compel any to the profession of it. 
If am/ man uill come after 771 e : that is, 
if any man choose and resolve to be a cluis- 
tian. 2. Our Saviour's terms propounded : 
1. Self-denial, Le^ liim de7u/ Iii77)setf By 
which we are not to understand the deny- 
ing and renouncing of our reason in mat- 
ters of religion : but by self-denial is meant, 
that we should be willing to part with all 
our earthly comforts, and quit all our tem- 
poral enjoyments, for the sake of Christ and 
his holy religion. 2. Gospel-suffering, He 
771 ust take up his cxoss : an allusion to a 
Roman custom, that the malefactor who 
was to be crucified, took his cross upon 
his shoulder, and carried it to the place of 
execution. Where note. Not the making 
of the cross for ourselves, but the patient 
bearing -of it when God lays it upon our 
shoulder, is the duty enjoined : Let him 
take up his cross. 3. Gospel-service, He 
Tjiust follow me; that is, obey my com- 
mands, and follow my example : he must 
set my life and doctrine continually before 
him, and must be daily correcting and re- 
forming his life by that rule and pattern. 
See on Luke Lx. 23. 

25 For whosoever will save his 
life shall lose it : and whosoever will 
lose his life for my sake shall find 
it. 

Observe here, 1. That the love of this 
temporal life is a great temptation to men 
to deny Christ, and to renounce his holy 
religion. 2. That the surest way to attain 
eternal life, is che^ully to lay down a 
mortal life, when the glory of Christ and 
his service calleth us thereunto. 

26 For what is a man profited, 
if he shall gain the whole world, and 
lose his own soul ? or, what shall a 
man give in exchange for his soul ? 

Learn, 1. That God has intrusted every 
one of us with a soul of inestimable worth 
and preciousness, capable of being saved 
or lost, and that to all eternity. 2. That 
the gain of the whole world is not com- 
parable with the loss of one precious soul. 
The soul's loss is an incomprehensible and 
irrecoverable loss. 

27 For the Son of man shall come 
in the glory of his Father with his 
angels ; and then he shall reward 
every man according to his works. 

G 2 



84 



ST. MATTHEW, 



Chap. XVII. 



There is two-fold judgment spoken of 
by this evangelist, St. Matthew, namely, a 
particular coming of Christ to execute ven- 
geance on the jews at the destruction of 
Jemsalem ; and a general coming at the 
day of judgment. If we understand this 
place of the latter, we have then. 1. The 
Judge described. The Son of man, he who 
was and is both God and Man, shall judge 
botlr angels and nvn, 2. The splendour 
of that day declared. He shall come in 
glory -with his holy angels. The attend- 
ance of angels shall be required by Christ, 
not for necessity, but for majesty. 3. The 
work and business of that day demonstrated, 
and that is, 2"o render to even/ man accord- 
ing to his xiwrk. Learn, That the judg- 
ment of the great day will be most glorious 
and righteous : Christ will be glorious in 
his person, and glorious in his attendants ; 
and the judgment will be according to 
righteousness, without respect of persons, 
according to what has been done in the 
body. 

28 Verily 1 say unto you. There 
be some standing here which shall 
not taste of death, till they see the 
Son of man coming in his kingdom. 

A threefold sense and interpretation is 
given of these words. 1. Some will have 
them refer to our Saviour's transfiguration, 
mentioned in the next chapter : as if he 
had said, " Some of you, as Peter, James, 
and John, shall shortly see me upon mount 
Tabor in such glory as I will come in to 
judgment." 2. Others understand the 
words of Christ's exercising his kingly 
power in the destruction of Jerusalem and 
the Jewish nation; which St. John did 
live to see. 3. Others refer the words to 
the time of the gospel after Christ's resur- 
rection and ascension, when the gospel was 
propagated and spread far and near, accord- 
ing to St. Mark ix. 1. There are some 
standing here, that shall not taste of death , 
till they see the kingdom of God come -with 
poxDcr ; that is, till they see the increase 
and enlargement of the church by the gos- 
pel. Thence note, That where the gospel 
is powerfully preached and cheerfully 
obeyed , there Christ cometh most gloriousl y 
in his kingdom. 

CHAP. XVII. 
A ND after six days Jesus taketh 
Peter, James, and John his bro- 
ther, and bringeth them up into an 
high mountain apart, 2 And was 



transfigured before them : and his 
face did shine as the sun, and his 
raiment was white as the light. 

The former part of this chapter gives us 
an account of our Saviour's glorious trans- 
figuration ; he laid as it were the garments 
of frail humanity and mortality aside for a 
litde time, and assuming to himself the 
robes of majesty and glory, the rays of his 
divinity darted forth ; fiis face shined with 
a pleasing brightness, and his raiment with 
such a glorious lustre, as did at once 
both dazzle and delight the eyes of the 
beholders. Here observe, 1. The reasons 
of our Lord's transfiguration. 1. To de- 
monstrate and testify the truth of his divinity, 
that he was Christ the Son of the living 
God : according to St. Peter's confession 
just before. This divine glory was an evi- 
dence of his divine nature. 2. Christ was 
thus transfigured, to prefigure the glory of 
his second coming to judgment, when he 
shall be admired of his saints, as here he 
was admired by his disciples. Observe, 
2. The choice which our Saviour makes of 
the witnesses of his transfiguration, his three 
disciples, Peter, James, John. But why dis- 
ciples ? why three disciples ? why these 
three? 1. This transfiguration was a type 
and shadow of the glory of heaven : Christ 
therefore vouchsafes the earnest and first- 
fruits of that glory only to saints ; upon 
whom he intended to bestow the full har- 
vest. 2. Three disciples were witnesses 
sufficient to testify this miracle. Judas 
was unworthy of this favour : yet lest he 
should murmur or be discontented at his 
being left out, others are also left out besides 
him. 3. These three, rather than others ; 
because. 1. These disciples are more emi- 
nent for grace, zeal, and love to Christ ; 
and, consequently, are most highly dig- 
nified and honoured by him. The most 
eminent manifestations of glory are made 
by God to those that are most eminent in 
grace. 2. These three were witnesses of 
Christ's agony and passion ; to prepare 
them for which, they are here made wit- 
nesses of his transfiguration. This glorious 
vision from mount Tabor fitted them to 
abide the terrors of mount Calvary. Learn, 
Tliat those whom God singles out for the 
greatest trials, he will fit beforehand with 
the best enablements. 

3 And, behold, there appeared 
unto them Moses and Eiias, talking 
with him. 

Observe here, The glorious attendants 



i 



Chap. XVII. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



85 



upon our Saviour at his glorious transfigu- 
ratioa ; they were two, two men ; and 
these two men, Moses and Elias. This 
being but a ghnipse of Christ's glory, not 
a full manifestation of it, only two of the 
glorified saints attend upon Christ at it : 
when he shall come in his full glory, ten 
Uiousand of thousands shall attend him. 
These two attendants were two men, not 
two angels ; because men were more 
nearly concerned in what was done ; they 
were not only spectators, but partners. 
Man's restoration was Christ's principal 
aim ; the angels' confirmation his less prin- 
cipal design. But why Moses and Elias ? 
1 . Moses the giver of the law, and Elias 
the chief of the prophets, attending both 
upon Christ, did show the consent of the 
law and the prophets with Christ, and their 
fulfilling and accomplishment in him. 2. 
Because these two were the most laborious 
servants of Clnrist, both adventured their 
lives in God's cause, and therefore are 
highly honoured by Christ. Such as 
honour him, he ivill honour. 

4 Then answered Peter, and said 
unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to 
be here : if thou ^\ ilt, let us make 
here tliree tabernacles ; one for thee, 
and one for Rloses, and one for 
Elias. 

Observe here, 1. The person suppli- 
cating, Peter. No doubt the other two, 
James and John, were much affected, but 
Peter is more fervent and forward ; yet 
tliere is no arguing, with the papists, from 
his liervency to his superiority ; his personal 
prerogatives were not hereditary, Ob- 
serve, 2. The Person supplicated, Jesus ; 
not Moses, nor Elias : the disciples make 
no prayer, no suit to them, but to Christ 
only. Prayers to saints departed are both 
vain and unlawful. Observe, 3. The sup- 
plication itself, and that was, for their 
continuance where they were : It is good 
for us to be here. O what a ravishing 
comfort is the fellowship of the saints ! but 
the presence of Christ among them renders 
their joys transporting. Observe, 4. Their 
profi'er of service to further this continu- 
ance : Let us make three tabernacles. 
This motion was well meant and devout. 
St. Peter will shck at no cost nor pains for 
the enjoyment of Christ's presence and his 
samts' company ; yet was the motion un- 
.idvised and rash. St, Peter erred in de- 
siring a perpetuity of that condition which 



was but transient and momentary. This 
vision was only a taste of glory, not a full 
repast. He errs, in that he would bring 
down heaven to earth, and take up with 
Tabor instead of heaven. He errs, in that 
he would enter upon the possession of 
heaven's glory without sufiering, and 
without dying. Peter would be clothed 
upon, but was not willing to be unclothed. 
Learn, 1. That a glimpse of glory is enough 
to wrap a soul into ecstasy, and to make it 
out of love with worldly company. 2. 
That we are apt to desire more of heaven 
upon earth, than God will allow : we 
would fain have the heavenly glory come 
down to us, but we are unwilling to go by 
death to that : we know not what we say 
when we talk of felicity in tabernacles upon 
earth. 

5 While he yet spake, behold, a 
bright cloud overshadowed them : 
and, behold, a voice outof the cloud, 
which said. This is my beloved Son, 
in whom I am w ell pleased ; hear } e 
him. 

Observe here, 1 . A cloud was put be- 
fore the disciples' eyes, for two reasons. 1 . 
To allay the lustre and resplendency of that 
glory which they were swallowed up with. 
As we cannot look upon the sun in its full 
brightness, but under a cloud by reflection ; 
so the glory of heaven is unsup portable, tUl 
God vails it, and shelters us from the sur- 
charge of it. 2. A cloud overshadows 
them, to hinder their farther prying and 
looking into the glory. We must be con- 
tent to behold God here through a cloud 
darkly ; ere long we shall see him face to 
face. Observe, 2. The testimony given by 
God the Father out of the cloud concern- 
ing Jesus Christ his Son : This is my be- 
loved Son, in -whom I am well pleased. 
Here note, 1. The dignity of his person, 
he is a Sow, therefore, for nature co-essential, 
for dignity co-equal, for duration co-eternal, 
with the Father ; and a beloved Son, be- 
cause of his likeness and conformity to 
him. A father's likeness is the cause of 
love; an union of wills causes a mutual 
endearing of affections. Note, 2. The ex- 
cellency of his mediation, In -ichorn I am 
•well pleased. Christ in himself was most 
pleasing to God the Father, and in and 
through him he is well pleased wdth all 
believers. Christ's mediation for us makes 
God appeasable to us. Note, 3. The au- 
thority of his doctrine; Hear him: not 
Moses and Elias, who were servants, but 



ST. MATTHEW. 



80 

Christ my Son, whom I have commis- 
sioned to be the great Prophet and Teacher 
of ray cliurch : therefore adore him as my 
Son, believe in him as your Saviour, and 
hear him as your Lawgiver. He honours 
Christ most, that obeys him best. The 
obedient ear honours Christ more than 
either the gazing eye, the adoring knee, or 
the applauding tongue. This is my be- 
loved Son, htar liiin. 

6 And when the disciples heard 
it, they fell on their face, and were 
sore afraid. 7 And Jesus came and 
touched them, and said. Arise, and 
be not afraid. 8 And when they 
had lifted up their eyes, they saw no 
man, save Jesus only. 9 And as 
they came down from the mountain, 
Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the 
vision to no man, until the Son of 
man be risen again from the dead. 

Observe here, 1. The effect vi^hich this 
voice from heaven had upon the apostles, 
it cast them into a passion of horror and 
amazement. IVici/ were sore afraid, and 
fell on their face. Learn hence, That 
such is the majesty and glory of God, 
that man in his sinful state cannot bear so 
much as a glimpse of it, without great con- 
sternation and fear. How unable is man 
to hear the voice of God ! and yet how 
ready to despise the voice of man ! If 
God speaks by himself, his voice is too 
terrible ; if he speaks by his ministers, it is 
too contemptible. Observe, 2. The Person 
by whom the disciples were recovered out 
of these amazing fears into which they were 
cast,; namely, by Christ : Jesus came and 
said. Be not afraid. It is Christ alone who 
can raise and comfort those whom the 
terrors of the Almighty have dejected and 
cast down. Observe, 3. The manner how 
Christ recovered them out of this passionate 
amazement, it was threefold: 1. By his 
gracious approach : He came unto them. 
Christ will come with comfort unto his 
children, when they are disabled irom com- 
ing to him for comfort. 2. By his com- 
tortable touch: He came and touched 
them. Christ comforts believers by a real 
and close application of himself unto them. 
An unapplied Christ saves none, comforts 
none. 3. By his comforting voice : He 
said. Be 7iot afraid. It is a word of 
assurance, that there is no ground nor cause 
of fear : and it is a word of assistance. It 
is Vcrbum Opcralorium ; he that said 



Chap. XVII. 



unto them, Arise, be not afraid, did 
by his Spirit breathe life and convey 
strength into their souls, to enable them to 
arise. Observe, 4. The strict injunction 
given by Christ to his disciples, not to 
publish or proclaim this vision till after his 
resurrection, for two reasons : 1 . Lest it 
should hinder his passion ; for had the 
rulers of the world known him to be the 
Lord of life and glory, they would not have 
crucified him : therefore Chrirt purposely 
concealed his deity, to give way to his 
passion. 2. Christ being now in a state of 
humiliation, would have his majesty veiled, 
his glory concealed, and consequently for- 
bids that the glorious vision of his trans- 
figuration should be published, and ac- 
cordingly charges his disciples, that they 
tell the vision to no man till he was risen. 
As if Christ had said, Tell no man the 
things which you have seen : not the resi- 
due of the disciples, they th at be not trou- 
bled that they were not admitted to see 
with you ; nor those believers who now fol- 
low me, they that be not scandalized at my 
sufferings after so glorious a transfiguration. 

10 And his disciples asked him, 
saying, Why then say the scribes 
that Elias must first come ? 11 
And Jesus answered and said unto 
them, Elias truly shall first come, and 
restore all things. 12 But I say 
unto you, that Elias is come already, 
and they knew him not, but have 
done unto him whatsoever they list- 
ed. Likewise shall also the Son of 
man suffer of them. 13 Then the 
disciples understood that he spake 
unto them of John the Baptist. 

Here we have the disciples' question, 
and our Saviour's answer. Thpy ask our 
Saviour, how the observation of the Jew- 
, ish doctors holds good, that Elias must 
come before the Messia* come ? We see 
the Messias, but we see no Elias. Our 
Saviour answers, That Elias was come al- 
ready : not Elijah in person, but one in 
the spirit and power of Elias : one of his 
spirit and temper, to wit, John the Baptist, 
who was prophesied of under the name of 
Elias. And indeed great was the resem- 
blance between the Elias of the Old Testa- 
ment, and of the New, namely, John the 
Baptist : they were both born in bad times ; 
they were both zealous for God and reli- 
gion ; they were both undaunted reprovers 
of the faults of princes ; and they were both 



Chap. XVII. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



87 



hated and implacably persecuted for the 
same. Learn, That hatred and persecution, 
even unto death, has often been the lot 
and portion of such as have had the zeal 
and courage to reprove the taults of princes : 
Elias is come, and they did unto him -what- 
soever theif would. 

14 And when they were come to 
the multitude, there came to hiin a 
certain man, kneeling down to him, 
and saying, 15 Lord, have mercy on 
my son ; for he is lunatic, and sore 
vexed : for oft-times he falleth into 
the fire, and oft into the water. ]6 
And I brought him to thy disciples, 
and they could not cure him. 

Observe here, 1 , A sick patient brought 
to Christ, the great Physician, for cure and 
heiUng. A lunatic, that is, a person at 
certain times of the moon afflicted with 
the falling sickness. 2. This sickness of 
his was aggravated by Satan, who bodily 
possessed him, and cruelly cast him into 
the fire and into the water, but rather for 
torture than despatch. O how does Satan, 
that malicious tyrant, rejoice in doing hurt 
to mankind ! Lord, abate his power, since 
his malice will not be abated. Observe, 
3. The person that brought him forth for 
cure ; his compassionate father, who 
kneeled down and cried out. Need will 
make a person both humble and eloquent. 
Every one has a tongue to speak for him- 
self ; happy is he that keeps a tongue for 
others. 4. The physicians that he was 
brought unto ; first, to the disciples, and 
when they could not cure him, then to 
Jesus. We never apply ourselves impor- 
tunately to the God of power, till we be- 
gin to despair of the creature's help. 

17 Then Jesus answered and said, 
O faithless and perverse genera- 
tion ! how long shall I be with you ? 
how long shall I suffer you ? Bring 
him hither to me. 

These words are a severe rebuke given 
by Christ to his own disciples. Where 
observe. The persons upbraided, his disci- 
ples ; and the sin upbraided with, unbe- 
lief. O faithless generation ! Yet was 
it not the total want of faith, but the weak- 
ness and imperfection of faith, that they 
were upbraided with, and reproved for. 
Hence leara, 1. That secret unbelief may 
lie hid and undiscerned in a person's 
heart, which neither others nor himself 
may take any notice of, until some trial 



doth discover it. The disciples were not 
sensible of that unbelief which lay hid in 
them, till this occasion did discover it. 
Learn, 2. That the great obstacle and 
obstruction of all blessmgs, both spiritu^ 
and temporal, coming to us, is our unbelief 
O faithless generation ! Others conceive 
that these words were not spoken to the 
disciples, but to the scribes, which St. 
Mark, chap. Lx. says, at this time were 
disputing with Christ's disciples, and per- 
haps insultmg over them, as having found 
out a distemper which could not be cured 
by Christ's name and power ; and these 
he called now, as he had done heretofore, 
a generation of vipers. 

18 And Jesus rebuked the devil, 
and he departed out of him : and 
the child was cui-ed from that very 
hour. 

Observe here. With what facility and 
ease our Saviour cured this poor man, who 
was bodily possessed by Satan : with one 
word speaking he delivered the distressed 
person trom the malice and power of Satan. 
Thence learn. That how long soever, and 
how strong soever, Satan's possession has 
been in a person, Christ can eject and cast 
him out both easily and speedily. 

19 Then came the disciples to 
Jesus apart, and said, Why could 
not we cast him out } 20 And 
Jesus said unto them, Because of 
your unbelief: for verily I say unto 
you, if ye have faith as a grain of 
mustard seed, ye shall say unto this 
mountain. Remove hence to yonder 
place ; and it shall remove ; and 
nothing shall be impossible unto 
you. 21 Howbeit this kind goeth not 
out, but h^ prayer and fasting. 

Observe here, How ashamed the disci- 
ples were of this open rebuke given them 
by their Master ; they privately ask him the 
cause of their ill success, why they could 
not cast out Satan, according to the power 
promised them to work miracles ? Our 
Saviour tells them, that their power to 
work this miracle now failed them, for a 
double reason. 1. For their unbelief ; by 
which we are to understand the weakness 
of their faith, not the total want of faith. 
2. Because they neglected the special means 
appointed by God in order to that end; to 
v/'xX, fasting and prayer : that is, a fervour 
of devotion, j oined with faith and fasting. 
Thence learn. That fasting and prayer are 



88 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. XVII. 



two especial means of Christ's appointment, 
for the enabling us victoriously to over- 
come Satan, and to cast him out of our- 
selves and others. We must set an edge up- 
on our faith by prayer, and upon our pray- 
er by fasting. 3.ucst. But what are w.^. to 
understand by faith as a grain of nmstard- 
seed ? Ans. 1. Some do thereby under- 
stand a faith that groweth and increaseth as 
a grain of mustard -seed, or a faith as strong 
and active in the heart as mustard-seed 
is on the palate. And by removing moun- 
iaim, understand the performing things 
that are most difficult : as if Christ had 
said. Did your faith increase as a grain of 
mustard-seed grows, it would enable you 
to sunnount all difficulties whatsoever. 2. 
Others, by faith as a grain of mustard-seed, 
understand the least degree of sincere faith 
on God, it being a proverbial speech among 
the Jews, used pro re minima, for the least 
thing; as if Christ had said, " Had you 
the least measure of that faith which casts 
out fear and doubting of success in the 
discharge of your office, you might perform 
things most difficult, and even this faith in 
its etfects would be most mighty." T)r. 
Whitby. 

22 And while they abode in 
Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The 
Son of man shall be betrayed into 
the hands of men ; 23 And they 
shall kill him, and the third day he 
shall be raised again. And they were 
exceeding sorry. 

Observable it is, how frequently our 
Saviour forewarned his disciples of his 
approaching sufferings. All was little e- 
nough to arm them against the scandal of the 
cross, and to reconcile them to the thoughts 
of what he was to suffer for them, and 
they were to suifer with him. Learn, That 
we can never hear too much of the doctrine 
of the cross ; nor can we too often be in- 
structed in our duty to prepare for a suf- 
fering condition. As Christ went by his 
cross to his crown, from a state of abase- 
ment to a state of exaltation, so must all his 
disciples and followers likewise. 

24 And when they were come to 
Capernaum, they that received tri- 
bute /homc^ came to Peter, and said, 
Doth not your master pay tribute ? 
25 He saith, Yea. And when he 
Avas come into the house, Jesus pre- 
vented him, saying, What thinkcst 



thou, Simon ? of whom do the kings 
of the earth take custom or tribute ? 
of their own children, or of stran- 
gers I 26 Peter saith unto him. 
Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him. 
Then are the children free. 27 
Notwithstanding, lest we should of- 
fend them, go thou to the sea, and 
cast an hook, and take up the fish 
that first cometh up ; and when thou 
hast opened his mouth, thou shaltfiiid 
a piece of money : that take, and give 
unto them for me and thee. 

Observe here, 1 . The question put to St. 
Peter : Hoth your Master pay tribute ? 
This tribute-money originally was a tax 
paid yearly by every Jew to the service of 
the temple, to the value of fifteen pence a 
head. But when the Jews were brought 
under the power of the Romans, this 
tribute-money was paid to the emperor, 
and was changed from an homage-penny 
to God, to a tribute-penny to the conqueror. 
The collectors of this tribute-money ask 
Peter, whether his Master would pay it or 
not ? Observe, 2. The answer returned, 
positively and suddenly, He does pay. 
Peter consults not first with our Saviour, 
whether he would pay it ; but knowing 
his readiness to render to all their due, he 
says. Yes. There was no truer Pay-Mas- 
ter of the king's dues, than he that was 
King of kings. He preached it, and he prac- 
tised it: Give unto C(esar the things that 
are Ccesars. Yet observe, 3. Our Sa- 
viour insinuates his o^^^l exemption, privi- 
lege, and freedom, from paying this tribute- 
money, as he was the Son of God, the uni- 
versal King; subjects pay tribute, but 
kings' children are free. Though Christ 
was free from paying tribute by a natural 
right, yet he would not be free by a volun- 
tary dispensation. Therefore observe. To 
prevent all scandal and offence, he works 
a miracle, rather than the tribute-money 
should go unpaid. Whether Clu-ist by his 
almighty word created this piece of money 
in the mouth of the fish, (which was half 
a crown for himself and St. Peter, who had 
an house in Capernaum, and was there to 
pay his toll,) or whether Christ caused the 
fish to take up this piece of money at the 
bottom of the sea, is not necessary to in- 
quire, nor possible to determine. Our duty 
is, 1. Reverentially to adore that omnipo- 
tent power, which could command the fish 
to be both his treasurer to keep his silver. 



Chap. XVllI. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



89 



and his purveyor to bring it to him. 2. 
Industriously to imitate his example, in 
shunning all occasions of offence, especi- 
ally towards those whom God has placed 
in sovereign authority over us. Observe, 
lastly. The poverty of our holy Lord, and 
his contempt of worldly wealth and riches : 
he had not so much as fifteen pence by 
nim to pay his toll. Christ would not ho- 
nour the world so far as to have any part 
of it in his own possession. The best man 
that ever lived in the world had not a 
penny in his purse, nor an house to hide 
his head in, which he could call his own. 
CHAP. XVIII. 
A T the same time came the disci- 
"^ pies unto Jesus, saying, Who is 
the greatest in the kingdom of liea- 
ven ? 

Notwithstanding our blessed Saviour had 
so often told his disciples that his kingdom 
was not of this world, yet they still dreamt 
of a temporal and earthly kingdom, which 
he, as the Messias, should show forth the 
glory of ; in which there should be distinct 
places of honour and offices one above ano- 
ther ; and accordingly at this time, the am- 
bition of the disciples led them to inquire 
of our Saviour, who should have the chief 
place of honour and dignity under him in 
that his kingdom ? who should be the 
principal officers of state ? concluding it 
must be some of them, though they could 
not agree who were fittest tor those high 
posts of honour and service. Learn hence, 
Tha; the best and holiest of men are too 
subject to pride and ambition, to court 
worldly dignity and greatness, to affect a 
precedency before, and a superiority above, 
others : the disciples themselves were taint- 
ed with the itch of ambition, which prompt- 
ed them to inquire of their Master, who 
should be the greatest in his kingdom of the 
church. 

2 And Jesus called a little child 
unto him, and set him in the midst 
of them, 3 And said, Verily I say 
unto you, except ye be converted, 
and become as little children, ye 
shall not enter into the kingdom of 
heaven. 

Our Saviour, intending to cure this pride 
and ambition in his disciples, first preaches 
to them the doctrine of humility ; and to 
enforce his doctrine, he sets before them a 
/it tie child, the proper emblem of humility ; 
assuring them, that unless they be converted. 



or turned from this sin of pride and ambi- 
tion, and become as a little child in lowli- 
ness of mind and contempt of worldly 
greatness, they cannot be saved. Learu 
hence, 1. That no sins are more odious 
and abominable in the sight of God, than 
pride and ambition, especially amongst the 
ministers of the gospel. Learn, 2. That 
persons already converted do stand in 
need of further conversion : they that are 
converted from a state of sin, may want to 
be converted from a particular act of sin : 
this was the disciples' case here; they 
were turned from a course of sin, but they 
wanted a conversion from a particular act 
of sin, to wit, from ambition. Learn, 3. 
That conversion, though sincere, may be 
very imperfect. Converts still have re- 
mains of corruption, some lust often break- 
ing forth, which they must take special 
care to resist and subdue. 

4 Whosoever therefore shall hum- 
ble himself as this little child, the 
same is greatest in the kingdom of 
heaven. 

As if our Lord had said, *' That apostle, 
or that minister, who thinks as meanly of 
himself as a little child, and is humble and 
lowly in his own esteem, he deserves the 
highest place of dignity and honour in my 
church." Note, That the truly humble 
person, who is freest from affecting pre- 
eminency, is most worthy of the highest 
dignity and eminency in the church of 
God ; and, in the account of Christ, the 
way to be honourable is to be humble. 
" Before honour is humility." 

5 And whoso shall receive one 
such little child in my name, receiv- 
eth me. 6 But whoso shall offend 
one of these little ones which believe 
in me, it were better for him that a 
millstone were hanged about his neck, 
and that he were drowned in the 
depth of the sea. 

Our Saviour having declared that the 
humblest persons should be always highest 
in his esteem, he next declares how exceed- 
ing dear and precious such christians are to 
him, who resemble little children in hu- 
mility of heart, and innocency of life: 
assuring the world, that whatever kindness 
and respect is showed to such for his sake, 
he reckons shown to himself; and ajl 
the disrespect and unkindness which is 
offered to them, he accounts as done unto 



90 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. XVIII. 



Iiimself j so near is the union, and so dear 
the relation, betwixt Christ and his mem- 
bers, that whatever good or evil is done 
unto them, he reckons as done unto himself. 

7 Woe unto the world because of 
offences ! for it must needs be that 
offences come ; but woe to that man 
by whom the offence cometh ! 

Two things are here observable : 1. The 
necessity of scandalous offences : It must 
needn be that offences come, 2. The mi- 
sery and mischief that comes by them : 
Woe unto the world because of offences. 
Woe unto such as give offences ; this is, 
Vce indignantis, the woe of one denounc- 
ing : and woe to such as stumble at offence 
given ; this is Vcb dolentis, the woe of 
one lamenting. From the whole, note, 1 . 
That scandals, or offensive actions in the 
church of Christ, will certainly fall out 
amongst those that profess religion and the 
name of Christ ; offences "will come : their 
necessity is partly from the malice of Satan, 
partly from the wickedness and deceitful- 
ness of men's own hearts and natures, God 
permitting those to have their natural ef- 
fects. 2. That scandalous and offensive 
actions from such as profess religion and 
the name of Christ, are baneful and fatal 
stumbling-blocks to wicked and worldly 
men. 3. That the offence which wicked 
men take at the falls of the professors of 
religion, to the hardening of themselves in 
their wicked practices, is matter of just and 
great lamentation : Woe unto the world 
because of offences ! 

8 Wherefore, if thy hand or thy 
foot offend thee, cut them off, and 
cast them from thee : it is better for 
thee to enter into life halt or maimed, 
rather than having two hands, or 
two feet, to be cast into everlasting 
fire. 9 And if thine eye offend thee, 
pluck it out, and cast it from thee : 
it is better for thee to enter into life 
with one eye, rather than having 
two eyes to be cast into hell-fire. 

This command of Christ is not to be 
understood literally, as if it were cur duty 
to maim our bodily members ; but the 
exhortation is, to cut off all occasions that 
may betray us into sin ; and to mortify our 
darling and beloved lusts, though as dear to 
us as our right eye. Learn, 1 . That sin may 
be avoided : it is our duty to avoid what- 



ever leads unto it, or may be the instrument 
or occasion of it. 2. That the best way to 
be kept from the outward acts of sin, is to 
mortify our inward affection and love to sin. 
If our love and affection to sin be mortified, 
our bodily members may be preserved, for 
they will no longer be weapons of sin, but 
instruments of holiness. 

10 Take heed that ye despise not 
one of these little ones ; for I say 
unto you, That in heaven their an- 
gels do always behold the face of 
my Father which is in heaven. 

Observe here, 1. A cautionary direction 
given by Christ to the men of the world 
concerning his members ; Take heed that 
you do not offend one of my little ones, 
that is, that ye do not undervalue and 
neglect, much less injure and afflict them. 
2. A reason assigned, Because their angels 
being constantli/ and immediately in the 
presence of God, are perpetually ready to 
execute his will, by revenging any wrongs 
and injuries done unto his friends and 
children. Learn, 1. What is the office 
and employment of the glorious angels; 
namely, to be the immediate attendants 
upon the royal person of the Supreme King 
and Sovereign of the world. Learn hence, 
2. In what esteem good men are with God, 
and what a mighty regard he has for the 
meanest of his children, that he commits the 
care and preservation of them to the holy 
angels, wlio are nearest to him, and in high- 
est favour and honour with him. It is St. 
Jerome's note upon this place. That great is 
the dignity of these little ones, seeing every 
one of them from his birth has an angel 
delegated to preserve him. But though 
others think that the opinion of a tutelary 
angel, or of one particular angel's having 
the custody of one particular saint, as his 
continual charge, has not a sufficient foun- 
dation in the holy Scriptures ; yet all the 
angels in heaven are ministering spirits to 
them ; and though they do not always 
attend upon their persons, (for they stand 
before the face of God,) yet it is to receive 
liis commands, either to help them in their 
exigences, or pimish those that injure them. 

11 For the Son of man is come 
to save that which was lost. 12 
How think ye ? If a man have an 
hundred sheep, and one of them be 
gone astray, doth he not leave the 
ninety and nine, and goeth into the 
mountains, and seeketh that which 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. XV III. 

is gone astray ? 13 And if so be 
that he find it, verily I say unto yon, 
He rejoiceth more of that sheep, 
than of the ninety and nine which 
went not astray. 14 Even so, it is 
not the will of your Father which is 
in heaven that one of these little 
ones should perish. 

H-2re our Saviour continues his argument 
against giving offence to his children and 
members ; he came into the world to re- 
deem and save them; therefore none ought 
to scandalize and offend them. And to 
illustrate this, he compares himself to a good 
shepherd, who regards every one of his 
sheep ; and if any wander or go astray, he 
seeks to recover it with desire and joy. 
Learn, 1. That the natural condition of 
mankind is like to that of wandering sheep ; 
they err and go astray from God, their 
chief Good, and the Object of their complete 
happiness. 2. That it was the work and 
business, the care and concern, of Jesus 
Christ, to seek and recover lost souls, as 
the shepherd doth his lost sheep. 3. That 
the love and care of Christ towards his 
sheep, in seeking to save and to preserve 
them, is a forcible argument unto all not 
to scandalize and offend them, much less 
to persecute and destroy them. 

15 Moreover, if thy brother shall 
trespass against thee, go and tell him 
his fault between thee and him 
alone : if he shall hear thee, thou 
hast gained thy brother. 16 But if 
he will not hear thee, then take with 
thee one or two more, that in the 
mouth of two or three witnesses 
every word may be established. 17 
And if he shall neglect to hear them, 
tell it unto the church : but if he 
neglect the church, let him be unto 
thee as an heathen man and a pub- 
lican. 

In these words our Saviour gives us an 
excellent rule for the duty of fraternal 
correction, or brotherly admonition. Where 
note, 1. That brotherly reproof and admo- 
nition is a duty incumbent upon church- 
members. 2. That it may be administer- 
ed successfully, it must be administered 
privately and prudently. 3. When pri- 
vate admonition prevails not, Christ has 
appointed church-governors to execute 
church- censures on the obstinate and irre- 



91 



claimable. 4. Persons justly falling under 
the censures of the church, and rightly ex- 
communicate, are to be looked upon as con- 
tumacious and stubborn offenders, and the 
members of the church to shun society and 
conversation with them: J f he neglect to 
hear the church, let him be unto thee as 
an heathen man, and as a publican was 
among; the Jews : wholly neglected, and 
not thought fit to be conversed with. 

19 Verily I say unto you. What- 
soever ye shall bind on earth, shall 
be bound in heaven ; and whatsoever 
ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed 
in heaven. 

That is, whomsoever the officers of my 
church shall justly excommunicate upon 
earth, shall, without repentance, be shut 
out of heaven ; and whosoever upon 
their true repentance shall be absolved on 
earth, shall be absolved in heaven. Learn, 
That Christ will ratify in heaven whatso- 
ever the church assembled doth in his 
name upon earth; whether to the cen- 
suring of the guilty, or the absolving of the 
penitent. This power of binding and 
loosing is by Christ committed to his 
church. 

18 Again I say unto you. That if 
two of you shall agree on earth, as 
touching any thing that they shall 
ask, it shall be done for them of my 
Father which is in heaven. 20 For 
where two or three are gathered 
together in my name, there am I in 
the midst of them. 

Here we have a gracious promise made 
by Christ, of his presence with all his mem- 
bers in general, and with his ministers in 
special ; whenever they meet together in 
his name, that is, by his authority, in obe- 
dience to his command, and with an eye to 
his glory. Whenever they celebrate any 
sacred institution of his, or execute any 
church-censures, he will be in the midst of 
them to quicken their prayers, to guide 
their counsels, to ratify their sentence, to 
accept their endeavours. Learn, 1. That 
Christ will be graciously present with and 
amongst his people, whenever they assem- 
ble and meet together in his name, be it 
never so small a number. 2. That Christ 
will in a special manner be present with 
the guides and officers of his church, to 
direct their censures, and to confirm the 
sentence passed in his name, and pro- 



92 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. XVIII 



nounced by his authority, upon obstinate 
offenders. 

21 Then came Peter to him, and 
said, Lord, how oft shall my brother 
sin against me, and I forgive him ? 
till seven times? 22 Jesus saith 
unto him, I say not unto thee, Until 
seven times ; but. Until seventy times 
seven. 

Here St. Peter puts a question to our Sa- 
viour, how often christians should forgive 
offences to their brethren professing repent- 
ance ? Christ answers, that there should 
be uo end of our mutual forgiving one 
another, but we are to multiply our par- 
don as our brotJier manifests his repent- 
ance. Not that we are hereby obliged to 
take the frequent offender into our bosom, 
and to make him our intimate ; but to lay 
aside all malice, and all thoughts and de- 
sires of revenge, and to stand ready to do 
him any office of love and friendship. 
Learn, 1. That to fall often into the same 
offence against our brotlier, is a great ag- 
gravation of our offence. 2. That as the 
multiplication of sin is a great aggrava- 
tion of sin, so the multiplication of for- 
giveness is a demonstration of a godlike 
temper in us. He that multiplies sin, doth, 
like Satan, sin abundantly ; and he that 
multiplies pardon, doth, like God, pardon 
abundantly. 

23 Therefore is the kingdom of 
heaven likened unto a certain king, 
which would take account of his ser- 
vants. 24 And when he had begun 
to reckon, one was brought unto him 
which owed him ten thousand talents : 
25 I5ut forasmuch as he had not to 
pay, his lord commanded him to be 
sold, and his wife and children, and 
all that he had, and payment to be 
made. 2G Tiie servant therefore 
fell down, and worshipped him, say- 
ing. Lord, have patience with me, 
and I will pay thee all. 27 Then 
the lord of that servant was moved 
with compassion, and loosed him, 
and forgave him the debt. 28 But 
the same servant went out, and 
found one of his fellow-servants 
which owed him an hundred ]>ence ; 
and he laid hands on him, and took 
him by the throat, saying. Pay mo 



that thou owest. 29 And his fellow- 
servant fell down at his feet, and 
besought him, saying. Have patience 
with me, and I will pay thee all. 
30 And he would not ; but went and 
cast him into prison, till he should 
pay the debt. 31 So when his fel- 
low-servants saw what was done, 
they were very sorry, and came and 
told unto their lord all that was done. 
32 Then his lord, after that he 
had called hira, said unto him, O 
thou wicked servant, I forgave thee 
all that debt, because thou desiredst 
me : 33 Shouldest not thou also have 
had compassion on thy fellow-ser- 
vant, even as I had pity on thee ? 34 
And his lord was wroth, and deliver- 
ed him to the tormentors, till he 
should pay all that was due unto him. 
35 So likewise shall my heavenly 
Father do also unto you, if ye from 
your hearts forgive not every one his 
brother their trespasses. 

Our blessed Saviour to enforce the fore- 
going doctrine of mutual forgiveness, pro- 
pounds a parable ; the main scope of which 
is to show, that unless we do actually for- 
give and pass by injuries done to us, we 
cut ourselves off from all interest in God's 
pardoning mercy, and must expect no 
forgiveness at the hands of God. From 
the whole, note, 1 . That as we all stand in 
need of forgiveness from God, so likewise 
of forgiveness from one another. 2. That 
we all stand bound by the laws of our 
holy religion, to forbear and forgive one 
another. 3. That Almighty God has 
made the forgiving one another the 
certain and necessary condition of his 
forgiving us. 4. That such as are inex- 
orable towards their brethren, shall find 
Almighty God hard to be entreated towards 
themselves. We may expect the same 
rigour and severity from God, which we 
show to men. 5. That the freeness of God's 
love in forgiving us, ought to be both an 
argument to excite us to forgive one another, 
and also a rule to direct us in the manner 
of forgiving each other. Doth God 
forgive us when he has power in his hand 
to punish us ? So must we, when we have 
abihty and opportunity for revenge. 
Doth God forgive universally all persons ? 
So must we all provocations. Doth he 



Chap. MX. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



93 



forgive freely and willingly, heartily and 
sincerely ? So must we ; we must be as 
forward in forgiving as they in provoking. 
Learn from the whole. The equity of un- 
limited forgiveness of our brother, because 
our God and Savioiu: forgives us more 
numerous and heinous sins than our 
brother is capable of committing against 
us. Let all unmerciful and unchristian 
creditors remember this text, who cast 
poor men into prison for debt, who have 
nothing to pay : surely he who bids us 
lend, looking for nothing again, will not 
allow us to imprison where nothing can be 
hoped for. It is to be feared, such will 
find but little mercy hereafter, who have 
showed no mercy here. For if at the great 
day such shall be condemned as did not 
visit christians in prison, what will their 
condemnation be, who cast them into 
prison ? 

CHAP. XIX. 
A ND it cauie to pass, that when 
Jesus had finishwl these sayings, 
he departed from Galilee, and came 
into the coasts of Judea, beyond Jor- 
dan : 2 And great multitudes follow- 
ed him ; and he healed them there. 
The country of the Jews was divided 
into three provinces ; namely Galilee, 
Samaria, and Judea. In Galilee, were the 
^ cities of Nazareth, Chorazin, Bethsaida, 
and Capernaum ; here Christ dwelt and 
spent a considerable part of his time, 
preaching to them, and working miracles 
among them. But now comes the time in 
■which our holy Lord takes his leave of this 
province of Galilee, and returned no more 
to it ; woe to that people, whose unthank- 
fulness for Christ's presence and ministry 
among them causes him finally to forsake 
them. Having left Galilee, our holy Lord 
passes through Samaria, (the Samaritans 
being prejudiced against him, and refusing 
10 receive him,) and comes into the coasts 
of Judea, where multitudes of people 
flocked after him. But observe the quali- 
ties of his followers, not the great ones of 
the world, not many mighty, not many 
noble ; but the poor and despised multi- 
tude, the sick and weak, the deaf and blind, 
the diseased and distressed. Thence ob- 
serve. That none but such as find their need 
of Christ, will seek after him, and come 
unto him. None apply to him for help, 
till they feel themselves helpless. Great 
multitudes of the sick and diseased came 
unto him, and he healed them all. 



3 The Pharisees also came unto 
him, tempting him, and saying unto 
him, Is it lawful for a man to put 
away his wife for every cause ? 

Observe here, 1. That wheresoever our 
blessed Saviour went, the Pharisees follow- 
ed him : not out of a sincere intention, 
but with a design to ensnare him ; and 
accordingly, they propound a question to 
him concerning divorce. Whether a man 
might put away his wife on any occasion, 
as the manner of the Jews was ? con- 
cluding that they should entrap him in his 
answer, whatever it was. If he denied the 
lawfulness of divorce, then they would 
charge him with contradicting Moses, who 
allowed it. If he affirmed it, then they 
would condemn him for contradicting his 
own doctrine, chap. v. 32. for favouring 
men's lusts, and for complying with the 
wicked custom of the Jews, who, upon 
every slight and frivolous occasion, put 
away their mves from them. Learn thence, 
1. That wheresoever our Lord went, as he 
had disciples and sincere followers, so the 
devil stirred him up bitter and malicious 
enemies, who sought to render his person 
unacceptable, and his doctrine unsuccess- 
ful. 2. That of all Christ's enemies, none 
had such a bitter hatred and enmity against 
his person, ministry, and miracles as the 
Pharisees : men of great knowled_ge, who 
rebelled against the light of their own con- 
sciences, and the clear convictions of their 
own mind. 3. That such was the wisdom 
of our Saviour in all his answers to his 
enemies, that neither their wit nor malice 
could lay hold upon any thing to ensnare 
him. But observe the piety and prudence 
of his answer to the Pharisees in the next 
words. 

4 And he answered and said unto 
them. Have ye not read, that he 
which made them at the beginning, 
made them male and female ; 5 
And said. For this cause shall a man 
leave father and mother, and shall 
cleave to his wife ; and they twain 
shall be one flesh? 6 Wherefore 
they are no more twain, but one 
flesh. What therefore God hath 
joined together, let not man put 
asunder. 

Observe here, Christ gives no direct 
answer to the Pharisees' ensnaring question, 
but refers them to the first institution of 



94 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. XIX. 



marriage, when God made them one, to 
the intent that matrimonial love might be 
bolli incommunicable and indissoluble. 
Whence learn, 1. The sacred institution of 
marriage : it is an ordinance of God's own 
appointment, as the ground and foundation 
of all sacred and civil society : W/iat God 
has joined toset/ier. Learn, 2. The 
antiquity of this institution, it was from the 
beginning : He w/iic/i 7nadc them at the 
beginning, inadc them male and female. 
Marriage is almost as old as the world, 
as old as nature : there was no sooner one 
person, but God divided him into two ; 
and no sooner was there two, but he united 
them into one. Learn hence, 3. The 
intimacy and nearness of this endeared and 
endearing relation ; the conjugal knot is 
tied so close, that the bonds of matrimonial 
love are stronger than those of nature : 
stricter is the tie betwixt husband and 
wife, than that betwixt parent and children, 
according to God's own institution. For 
this cause shall a man leave father and 
mother, and cleave to his wife. 

7 They say unto him, Why did 
Moses then command to give a 
writing of divorcement, and to put 
her away ? 8 He saith unto them, 
Moses, because of the hardness of 
your hearts, suffered you to put 
away your wives ; but from the 
beginning it was not so. 9 And I 
say unto you, Whosoever shall put 
away his wife, except it be for for- 
nication, and shall marry another, 
committeth adultery : and whoso 
marrieth her which is put away doth 
commit adultery. 

Observe here. The Pharisees' demand, 
and our Saviour's reply. They demand. 
Why Moses commanded to put atvai/ the 
wife hii a bill of divorce ? Where note. 
The wicked abuse which the Pharisees put 
upon Moses, as if he had commanded 
them, whereas he only permitted to put 
them away. Moses suffered it for the 
hardness of their hearts, that is, he did 
not punish it ; not allowing it as good, 
but winking at it as a lesser evil ; because 
the Jews were so barbarously cruel to their 
wives, as to turn them away upon every 
disgust. Now our Saviour in his reply 
refers them again to the primitive institution 
of marriage, bidding them compare tlie 
precept and their practice together ; for in 



the beo-inning it was not so. Learn, that 
according to the word and will of God, 
nothing can violate the bonds of marriage, 
and justify a divorce between man and wife, 
but the defiling of the marnage-bed by 
adultery and uncleanness : this is the only 
case in which man and wife may lawfully 
part. Whosoever shall put away his wife, 
except for fornication, committeth adul- 
ter)/. 

10 His disciples say unto him. If 
the case of a man be so with his wife, 
it is not good to marry. 

That is, if a man be so strictly tied by 
marriage, it is best for him not to marry. 
A very rash saying of the disciples, 
discovering both their great carnality, and 
also the tyranny of a sinful practice grown 
up into custom. Learn, l.That the bestof 
men have their weaknesses and infirmities ; 
and the flesh takes its turn to speak as well 
as the Spirit in them. All that the saints 
say is not gospel. Learn, 2. How impa- 
tient nature is of restraint, and how desirable 
of sinful liberty, and to be freed from the ties 
and bonds which the holy and wise laws 
of God put upon it. 

11 But he said unto them, All 
men cannot receive this saying, save 
they to whom it is given. 12 For 
there are some eunuchs, which 
were so born from their mother's 
womb : and there are some eunuchs, 
which were made eunuchs of men : 
and there be eunuchs, which have 
made themselves eunuchs for the 
kingdom of heaven's sake. He that 
is able to receive it, let him receive 
it. 

As if our Lord had said, " You, my 
disciples, do not consider what you say. 
All men without sinning against God cannot 
abstain from marriage, but those only 
to whom God has given the gift of con- 
tinency, and grace of chastity. Some 
indeed by nature or natural impotency are 
unfit for marriage. Others wickedly are 
made unfit by castration ; others by reli- 
gious mortification bring under their 
bodies, that being free from the incum- 
brances that attend a married state, they 
may give up themselves the better to the 
exercises of a holy life." Learn, 1. That 
Almighty God has given to divers persons 
different tempers and constitutions : some 
can subdue their impure desires and 



Chap. XIX. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



95 



affections without the remedy of marriage ; 
others cannot. 2. That continency, or 
an ability to hve chastely, without the use 
of marriage, is the especial gift of God ; 
not common to all, but bestowed only 
upon some. A gift it is, worthy of our 
fervent prayers, worthy of our best endea- 
vours. 3. That a vow of chastity is not 
in oiu" power ; to quench a natural affection 
requires a supernatural gift. All have not 
received : that is, all men cannot live 
single, and abstain from matrimony. 
From whence it follows, that men and 
women are not by monastical vows to be 
obliged to live a single life, which some 
cannot perform without sin. Note farther. 
When Christ says, that some have made 
themselves eunuchs fur the khifrdom of 
heaven's sake : the meaning is, that some 
have abstained from matrimony that they 
might be more expedite in preaching the 
gospel, if ministers, or more prompt, fit, 
and ready to regard only the things of the 
Lord, if private christians. 

13 Then were there brotight unto 
him little children, that he should 
put his hands on them, and pray : 
and the disciples rebuked them. 14 
But Jesus said, Sufi'er little children, 
and forbid them not, to come unto 
me ; for of such is the kingdom of 
heaven. 15 And he laid his hands 
on them, and departed thence. 

Observe here, A solemn action perform- 
ed. Children are brought to Christ to 
be blest by him. Where note, 1. The 
persons brought, children, young children, 
suckling children, as the word imports : 
St. Luke xviii. 15. The>/ drought them 
in their arms, not led them by the hand. 
2. The person they are brought unto, 
Jesus Christ ; but for what end ? Not to 
baptize them, but to biess them : the 
parents looking upon Christ as a prophet, 
a great prophet, the great prophet, do bring 
their infants to him, that they may 
receive the benefit of his blessing and 
prayers. Whence learn, 1. That infants 
are subjects capable of benefit by Jesus 
Christ. 2. That it is the best office thaf. 
parents can perform unto their children, to 
bring them unto Christ, that they may be 
made partakers of that benefit. 3. If 
infants be capable of benefit by Christ ; if 
capable of his blessing on earth, and pre- 
sence in lieaven, if they be subjects of his 
kingdom of grace, and heirs of his kingdom 



of glory, then they may be baptized : for 
they that are in covenant have a right to 
the seal of the covenant. If Christ denies 
not infants the kingdom of heaven, which 
is the greater, what reason have his mi- 
nisters to deny them baptism, which is the 
less ? But, say some, Clirist did neither 
baptize them, nor command his disciples 
so to do ? Answer, That is not to be won- 
dered at, if we consider that they had already 
entered into covenant with God by circum- 
cision, and christian baptism was not yet 
instituted : John's baptism was the baptism 
of repentance, of which infants were in- 
capable. 

16 And, behold, one came and 
said unto him, Good Master, what 
good things shall I do, that I may 
have eternal life ? 

Observe here, A person addressing him- 
self to Christ, and propounding an im- 
portant question to him : namely. What 
he should do to gain eternal life ? Where 
note, 1. He believes the certainty of a 
future state. 2. He professes his desire of 
an eternal happiness in that state. And, 3. 
He declares his readiness to do some good 
thing, that he may obtain that happiness. 
Learn, That the light of nature or natural 
religion, directs and teaches men, that good 
works are necessary to salvation, or that 
some good things must be done by men 
that at death expect eternal life. What 
good thing shall I do, that I mat/ have 
eternal life ?- It is not talking well, and 
professing well, but doing well, and living 
well, that entitles us to eternal life. 

17 And he said unto him. Why 
callest thou me good ? there is none 
good but one, that is God : but if 
thou wilt enter into life, keep the 
commandments. 

The person thus addressing himself unto 
Christ, was either a Pharisee, or a disciple 
of the Pharisees, who did not own Christ 
to be God, or to come from God ; but 
thought that eternal life was attainable, by 
fulfilling of the law in that imperfect sense 
which the Pharisees gave of it. And accord- 
ingly, 1. Christ reproves him for calling 
him good ? Wh)/ callest thou me good ? 
when thou wilt neither own me to be God, 
nor to come from God: For there is-none 
good, that is, essentially and originally 
good, but God only ; nor any derivatively 
good, but he that receives his goodness 
from God also. From this place the 



OG 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. XIX. 



Sociaians argue against the Divinity of 
Christ : thus, " He to whom the title of 
BToorl doth not belong, cannot be God Most 
High. But by our Lord's words this title 
belongs not to him, but only to God the 
Father : therefore God the Father must be 
God alone." Ansxver, Christ may be 
supposed to speak to this young man thus : 
" Thou givest me a title which was never 
given to the most renowned rabbins, and 
which agrees to God alone : now thou 
oughtest to believe that there is something 
in me more than human, if thou conceivest 
that this title of good doth belong to me." 
Obser\'e, 2. That our Saviour might con- 
vince him of the error of the Pharisees, who 
believed that they might without the 
knowledge of him, the true Messias, enter 
into life, by keeping the law of God 
according to that lax and loose interpreta- 
tion which they, the Pharisees, had given 
of it ; he bids him keep the commandments. 
Where note, Christ calls him off from 
outward ceremonies, which the Pharisees 
abounded in, to the practice of moral 
duties ; yet withal lets him understand, 
that if he expected salvation by the moral 
law, he must keep it perfectly and exactly, 
v^ithout the least deficiency, which is an 
impossibilitv to man in his lapsed state. 
Learn, L That such as seek justification 
and salvation by the works of the law only, 
must keep the whole law, or covenant of 
works, perfectly and exactly. Learn, 2. 
That the best way to prepare men for Jesus 
Christ, is to let them see their own impo- 
tency to keep and fulfil the covenant of 
M'orks. 

18 He saith unto him. Which ? 
Jesiis said. Thou shalt do no mur- 
der, Thou shalt not commit adultery. 
Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not 
bear false witness ; 19 Honour thy 
father and thy mother ; and. Thou 
shalt love thy neighbour as thyself 
20 The young man saith unto him, 
All these things have I kept from 
my youth up : what lack 1 vet ? 

Observe here. That the duties which our 
Saviour instances in, are the duties of the 
second table, which hypocrites are most 
failing in ; for the sincere practice of our 
duty to our neighbour, is a signal evidence 
of our love to God. These duties of the 
second table the young man says he nad 
kept from his youth, and perhaps might ■say 
)t truly, according to the Pharisees' inter- 



pretation, which condemned only the gross 
outward act, not the inward lust and mo ■ 
tion of the heart. Learn hence. How apt 
men are to think well of themselves, and 
to have too high an opinion of their own 
goodness and righteousness before God : 
All these have 1 kept from my youth up. 

21 Jesus said unto him. If thou 
wilt be perfect, go and sell that 
thou hast, and give to the poor, and 
thou shalt have treasure in heaven ; 
and come and follow me. 

That is, " Thou hast been all thy days a 
Pharisee ; if now thou wilt be a christian, 
thou must maintain a readiness and dispo- 
sition of mind to part with all that thou hast 
in this world, at my call and at my com- 
mand, and follow after me." Learn, 1. 
That such as enter themselves disciples of 
Christ, must be ready, at Christ's call, to 
part with all for Christ's sake that they 
have in this world. 2. All that profess 
themselves to be Christ's disciples, must 
be his followers ? that is, they must obey 
his doctrine, and imitate his example, his 
holiness, his humility, his heavenly-mind- 
edness, his patience, his meekness, his rea- 
diness to forgive injuries, and the saine 
?nmd must be in us which was in Christ 
Jesus. 

22 But when the young man 
heard that saying, he went away 
sorrowful : for he had great posses- 
sions. 

This parting with all for Christ seemed 
so hard a condition to the young man, 
that he went away sorrowful from Christ. 
Whence learn, 1. That a man wedded to 
the world will renounce Christ rather than 
the world, when both stand in competition. 
2. That unregenerate and carnal men are 
exceeding sorrowful, and sadly concerned, 
that they cannot have heaven upon their 
own terms, and win it in their own way. 
The young man went away sorrowful. 

23 Then said Jesus unto his 
disciples. Verily I say unto you, that 
a rich man shall hardly enter into 
the kingdom of heaven. 

Our blessed Saviour takes occasion from 
what had passed, to discourse with his disci- 
ples concerning the danger of riches, and 
the difficulties that attend rich men in their 
way to salvation. A rich man shall hard- 
ly enter into the kingdom of God 
Whence note, 1. That rich men do cer- 
tainly meet with more difficulties in their 



Chap. XIX. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



97 



way to heaven, than other men : it is diffi- 
cult to withdraw their affections from riches, 
to place their supreme love upon God in the 
midst of their abundance. It is difiQcult 
to depend upon God in a rich condition. 
The poor committeili himself to God, but 
the rich 7iwn.s xvealth is his stro7i£r tower. 
2. That yet the fault lies not in riches, but 
in rich men ; who by placing their trust, 
and putting their confidence in riches, do 
render themselves incapable of the kingdom 
of God. 

2 I And again I say unto you, It is 
easier for a camel to go through the 
eye of a needle, than for a rich 
man to enter into the kingdom of 
God. 

These words were a proverbial speech 
among the Jews, to signify a thing of great 
difficulty, next to an impossibility : and 
they import thus much : " That it is not 
only a very great difficulty, but an impos- 
sibility, for such as abound in worldly 
wealth to be saved, without an extraordi- 
nary grace and assistance from God. It 
is hard for a rich man to become happy, 
even by God, because he thinks himself 
happy without God." 

25 When his disciples heard it, 
they were exceedingly amazed, say- 
ing, Who then can be saved ? 

The disciples, understanding how na- 
turally and strongly men love the world, 
and how idolatrously and inordinately their 
hearts run out upon it, they say unto 
Christ, Lord, who then can be saved ? 
Learn, 1. That when the general difficul- 
ties which lie in the way of salvation are 
laid forth and sufficiently understood, we 
may justly wonder that any are or shall 
be saved. 2. That such are the special 
and peculiar difficulties in the rich man's 
way to heaven, that his salvation is matter 
of wonder and great admiration to the dis- 
ciples of Christ. When the disciples 
heard this, they xoere exceedingly amazed, 
saying. Who then can be saved ? 

26 But Jesus beheld them, and 
said unto them. With men this is 
impossible ; but with God all things 
are possible. 

As if Christ had said, " Were all men 
left to themselves, no man either rich or 
poor would be saved -, but God can bring 
men to heaven by the mighty power oi» 
his grace ; he can make the rich in estate, 



poor in spirit ; and them that are poor in 
this world, rich m grace." Learn, L That 
it IS impossible for any man, rich or poov, 
by his own natural strength, to get to hea- 
ven. 2. That when we are discouraged 
with a sense of our own impotency, we 
should consider the power of God, and act 
our faith upon it : With God all things are 
possible. 

27 Then answered Peter, and 
said unto him. Behold, we have 
forsaken all, and followed thee : 
what shall we have therefore ? 28 
And Jesus said unto them, Verily I 
say unto you, that ye which have 
followed me in the regeneration, 
when the Son of man shall sit in the 
throne of his glory, ye also shall 
sit upon twelve thrones, judging the 
twelve tribes of Israel. 

The apostles having heard our Saviour's 
command to the young man, to sell and 
give to the poor, St. Peter, in the name of 
the rest, tells Christ that they had left all, 
and followed him J Eehold f we have left 
all. Where note. How Peter magnifies 
that little which he had left for Christ, and 
ushers it in with a note of observation and 
admiration also. Behold! we have for- 
saken all; what shall we have then? 
Learn thence. That although it be a very 
little that we suffer for Christ, and less that 
we have to forsake upon his account, yet 
we are apt to magnify and extol it, as if it 
were some great matter. Lord, we have 
forsaken all. What all? His tattered 
tisher-boat and his ragged nets ; scarce 
worthy to be mentioned : yet how is it mag- 
nified ! Behold, Lord, we have left aU ! 
But observe our Lord's kind and gracious 
answer ; " You that have left all to follow 
me, shall be no losers by me : for in the rege- 
neration, that is, at the resurrection, when 
believers shall be perfectly renewed, both 
in soul and body, and shall enjoy my king- 
dom, then, as I sit upon the throne of my 
glory, so shall you sit with me in a higher 
degree of dignity and honowv, judging the 
twelve tribes of Israel ; that is, the Jews 
fii'st, for their unbelief, and then all other 
despisers of gospel grace and mercy." 
Learn, 1. That such ministers as do most 
service for Christ and forsake most to fol- 
low him, shall in his kingdom partake of 
most honour and dignity with him and 
from him. 2. That as the ministers of 
Christ in general, so his twelve apostles in 

H 



90 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. XX. 



particular, shall sit nearer the throne of 
Christ, and have an higher place in glory 
at the gTcat day, than ordinary believers. 

29 And every one that hath 
forsaken houses, or brethren, or 
sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, 
or children, or lands, for my name's 
sake, shall receive an hnndred-fold, 
and shall inherit everlasting life. 

The foregoing promise, ver. 28. respect- 
ed the apostles ; this, all christians who 
forsake their dearest enjoyments for Christ ; 
he assures them, they shall be recompensed 
in this life an hundred-fold. How ? Non 
formditer, sed-emincnter : not in specie, 
but i?i valore ; not in kind, but in equiva- 
lence ; not an hundred brethren, or sisters, 
or lands ; but. First, He shall have that in 
God, which all creatures would not be to 
him, if they were multiplied an hundred 
times. Secondly, The gifts and graces, 
the comforts and consolations, of the Holy 
Spirit, shall be an hundred-fold better por- 
tion than any thing we can part with for 
the sake of Christ and his gospel here. 
Though we may be losers for Christ, yet 
shall we never be losers by him. Christ 
gives present recompenses as well as future 
rewards ; insomuch, that they who have 
sutfered and lost most for Christ, have ne- 
ver complained of their sufferings or losses. 
Therefore never be afraid to lose any thing 
for Cluist, he will not only see you indem- 
nified, but plentifully rev/arded ; in this 
world an hundred-fold, in that to come 
eternal life. 

30 But many that are first shall 
be last ,* and the last shall be first. 

A two-fold sense and interpretation is 
given of these words : the first respects the 
Jews and Gentiles in general : the second 
all professors of Christianity in particular. 
' The Jews (as if Christ had said) look 
upon themselves as first, and nearest to the 
kingdom of heaven, but for their infidelity ' 
they shall be last in it ; that is, never shall 
come there. And the Gentiles, who were 
looked upon as dogs, and farthest from 
heaven, shall be first there, upon their 
conversation to me, and faith in me." 
As the words respect all professors, the 
sense is, " Many that are first in their own 
esteem, and in the opinion of others, and 
forward in a profession of religion, yet at 
the day of judgment they will be last and 
least in mine and my Father's estimation 
and aocount. And many that were little 



in their own, and less in the esteem of 
others, who had a less name and vogue in 
the world, shall yet be first and highest in 
my favour." Learn hence. That the day 
of judgment will frustrate a great many 
persons' expectations, both as touching 
others, and concerning themselves. Many 
will miss of heaven, and be last, who 
looked upon themselves to be first. And 
many will find others in heaven, whom 
they least expected there. The Lord 
judgeth not as manjudgeth. We judge 
of man by outward appearances, but we 
are sure that the judgment of God is 
according to truth. He can neither be 
deceived, nor yet deceive. 

CHAP. XX. 
"II^OR the kingdom of heaven is 
like unto a man that is an 
householder, which went out early 
in the morning to hire labourers 
into his vineyard. 2 And when he 
had .agreed with the labourers for 
a penny a day, he sent them into 
his vineyard. 3 And he went out 
about the third hour, and saw others 
standing idle in the market-place, 
4 And said unto them, Go ye also 
into the vineyard ; and whatsoever 
is right, I will give you. And they 
went their way. 5 Again he went 
out about the sixth and ninth hour, 
and did likewise. 6 And about the 
eleventh hour he Avent out, and 
found others standing idle, and 
saith unto them, Why stand ye here 
all the day idle ? 7 They say unto 
him. Because no man hath hired us. 
He saith unto them. Go ye also into 
the vineyard ; and whatsoever is 
right, that shall ye receive. 

A two-fold sense and interpretation is 
given of this parable : but both analogical. 
One of which relates to the calling of the 
Gentiles. The Jews were the first people 
that God had in the world ; they were hired 
into the vineyard betimes in tlie morning, 
the Gentiles not till the day was far spent : 
yet shall the Gentiles, by the favour and 
bounty of God, receive the same reward of 
eternal life which was promised to the Jews, 
who bare the heat of the day while the 
Gentiles stood idle. In the other analogi- 
^1 sense we may understand all persons 
indefinitely called by the gospel into the 



Chap. XX. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



99 



visible church j those that are called last, 
shall be rewarded together with the first ; 
and accordingly the design and scope of 
this parable is, to show the freeness of 
divine grace in the distribution of those 
rewards wliich the hand of mercy confers 
upon God's faithful servants. The vine- 
yard is the church of God, the husband- 
man is God himself: the labourers are 
particular persons. God's going at divers 
times into his vineyard, imports the several 
ages of man's life ; some are called early 
in the morning, some at noon, others at 
night. Now when God comes to dispense 
his rewards, those that entered first into the 
vineyard, and did most service for God, 
shall be plentifully rewarded by him; and 
such as came in later, but did faithful 
service, shall not miss ofa merciful reward. 
Learn, 1. That so long as a person keeps 
out of Christ's vineyard and service, he is 
idle. Every unregenerate man is an idle 
man. 2. That persons are called by the 
preaching of the gospel at several ages and 
periods of life into God's vineyard ; that is, 
into the communion of the visible church. 
3. That such as do come in, though late, 
into God's vineyard, and work diligently 
and faithfully, shall not miss of a reward of 
grace at the hand of free mercy. 

8 So when even was come, the 
lord of the vineyard saith unto his 
steward, Call the labourers, and give 
them their hire, beginning from the 
last unto the first. 3 And when 
they came that were Airerf about the 
eleventh hour, they received every 
man a penny. 10 But when the 
first came, they supposed that they 
should have received more ; and 
they likewise received every man a 
penny. 11 And when they had 
received it, they murmured against 
the good man of the house, 12 
Saying, These last have wrought hut 
one hour, and thou hast made them 
equal unto us, which have borne the 
burden and heat of the day. 13 
But he answered one of them, and 
said, Friend, I do thee no wrong : 
didst not thou agree with me for a 
penny ? 14 Take that thine is, and 
go thy way : I will give unto this 
last even as unto thee. 15 Is it not 
lawful for me to do what I will with 



mine own ? Is thine eye evil because 
1 am good ? 16 So the last shall be 
first, and the first last : for many be 
called, but few chosen. 

Here observe, 1. That the time of God's 
full rewarding of his labourers, is the evening 
of their days ; that is, when their work is 
done. When the evening was come, the 
Lord of the vinci/ard called his labourers, 
and gave them their hire ; not but that they 
have part of their reward in hand, but it is 
chiefly laid up in hope. Observe, 2. That 
though God makes no difference in his 
servants' wages for the time of their work, 
yet he will make a difference for the de- 
grees of their service. Undoubtedly they 
that have done most work, shall receive 
most wages. He that soweth bountifully, 
shall reap bountifully ; God will reward 
every man according to his works ; that 
is, not only according to the nature and 
quality, but the measure and degree, of his 
works. All shall have equity, but all 
shall not have equal boimty. Observe, 3. 
That all inequality in the distribution of 
rewards, doth not make God an unjust Ac- 
cepter of persons ; he may dispense both 
grace and glory in what measure and de- 
gree he pleases, without the least shadow of 
unrighteousness. Is it not lawful for me 
to do what I will with mine own '? Ob- 
serve, 4. That when we have done much 
service for God, by labouring longer than 
others in his vineyard, it is our duty to 
have a low esteem both of our services and 
of ourselves, /or the first shall be last, and 
the last first ; that is, they that are first and 
highest in their own esteem, shall be the 
last and least in God's account. 

17 And Jesus going up to Jerusa- 
lem, took the twelve disciples apart 
in the way, and said unto them, 18 
Behold, we go up to Jerusalem : and 
the Son of man shall be betrayed 
unto the chief priests and unto the 
scribes, and they shall condemn him 
to death, 19 And shall deliver him 
to the Gentiles to mock, and to 
scourge, and to crucify him : and the 
third day he shail rise again. 

This is now the third time that Christ 
had acquainted his disciples very lately 
with his approaching sufferings, and bloody 
passion. He did it twice before, chapter 
xvi. and chapter xvii. yet now he mentions 
it again, that they might not be dismayed, 
H 2 



ST. MATTHEW. 



100 

and their faith might not be shaken to see 
him die, who called himself the true Mes- 
sias and the Son of God. The first time 
he told his disciples of his death in general ; 
the second time he declares the means, by 
treason ; now he tells them the manner, by 
crucifying : that he should be scourged, 
mocked, spit upon, and crucified: all 
this he did, to prevent his disciples' de- 
jection at his suflferings. Learn thence. 
That it is highly necessary that the doctrine 
of the cross be often preached to us ; that 
so being armed with tlie expectation of 
sufferings before they come, we may be 
the less dismayed and disheartened when 
they come. Our Lord's frequent fore- 
warning his disciples of his death and 
sufferings was to fore-ami them with 
expectation of his sufferings, and with 
preparation for their own. 

20 Then came to him the mother 
of Zebedee's children with her sons, 
worshipping him, and desiring a 
certain thing of him. 21 And he 
said unto her, What wilt thou ? She 
saith unto him, Grant that these my 
two sons may sit, the one on thy 
right hand, and the other on the left, 
in thy kingdom. 

To sit on the right hand and on the 
left, is to have the most eminent places of 
dignity and honour after Christ. This the 
mother might be encouraged to ask for 
James and John, because of their alliance 
to Christ, and because Christ had admitted 
them with Peter to be with him at his 
transfiguration. However, the rest of the 
disciples hearing of this ambitious request 
of the two brethren, and being as desirous, 
and in tlieir own opinion as deserving, of 
the same honour, they had indignation 
against them. Whence note, That none 
of the disciples did imagine that Christ 
had promised the supremacy to Peter, by 
these words, Tu es Petrus, thou art Pe- 
ter ; for then neither James nor John had 
desired it, nor would the rest have contend- 
ed for it. Observe here, I. The persons 
making this request to Christ, Zebedee's 
children ; that is, James and John, by the 
mouth of their mother. They speak by 
her lips, and made use of her tongue, to 
usher in a request which they were ashamed 
to make themselves. Observe, 2. The re- 
quest itself. Grant that these two may sit, 
the one on thy ri<:ht hand, the other on 
thy left hand. Where note. How these 



Chap. XX. 



disciples did still dream of Christ's tempo- 
ral kingdom, (although he had so olten 
told them, that his kingdom was not of 
this world,) and ambitiously seek to have 
the preference and pre-eminence in that 
kingdom. See here how these poor fish- 
ermen had already learnt craftily to fish 
for preferment. Who can wonder to see 
some sparks of ambition and worldly de- 
sires in the holiest ministers of Christ, when 
the apostles themselves were not free from 
aspiring thoughts, even when they lay in 
the bosom of their Saviour ? Ambition 
has all along infected churchmen, and trou- 
bled the church, even from the very first 
original and foundation of it. Observe, 3. 
Both the unseasonableness and unreasona- 
bleness of this request made by the disci- 
ples. Christ speaks of his sufferings to 
them, and they sue for dignity and great 
places from him, in optimis non nihil est 
pessimi : the holiest, the wisest, and best 
of men, in their imperfect state, are not 
wholly free from passionate infirmities. 
Who would have expected, that when our 
Saviour had been preaching the doctrine 
of the cross to his disciples, telling tViem 
that he must be mocked, scourged, spit 
upon, and crucified for them, that they 
should be seeking and suing to him for 
secular dignity and honour, pre-eminence 
and power ! But we plainly see, the best 
of men are but men, and that none are in 
a state of perfection on this side heaven. 

22 But Jesus answered and said. 
Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye 
able to drink of the cup that I shall 
drink of, and to be baptized with the 
baptism that I am baptized with ? 
They say unto him. We are able. 

As if Christ had said, " You do but 
abuse yourselves with fond and idle dreams ; 
there is other work cut out for you in 
the purpose of God, than sitting upon 
"thrones and tribimals : to think of suffer- 
ing would do you more service." And 
accordingly our Saviour in his answer 
tells these disciples, L That they were 
greatly ignorant of the nature and quality 
of his kingdom, which was not secular, 
but heavenly ; but the carnal notion of 
a glorious earthly kingdom upon earth, 
in which they should be delivered front 
the Roman power, was so deeply imprinted 
in their minds, that they frequently de- 
clared their expectation of it, notwithstand- 
ing all the assurances which Christ had 



Chap. XX. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



101 



given them of the contrary. Observe, 2. 
The course which our Saviour takes to cool 
the ambition of his disciples ; he tells them, 
they must expect here, not crowns on their 
heads, but a cross on their backs ; they 
must first taste of his sutierings, before they 
talk of his glory ; and patiently suffer for 
him, before they expect to reign with him ; 
plainly intimating, that the cross is the way 
to the crown, sutlenng the way to reigning, 
and that those that suffer most for Clirist, 
shall partake of highest dignity and glory 
from him. Observe, 3. The presump- 
tuous confidence which the disciples had of 
their own strength and ability for sufferings. 
Are yc able, says Christ, to drink of my 
cup '^ They reply. We are able. Alas, 
poor disciples ! when it came to the trial, 
they all cowardly forsook him and fled. 
A bold presumption makes us vaunt of our 
own ability ; holy jealousy makes us dis- 
trustful of our own strength. Those that 
are least acquainted with the cross, are 
usually the most confident undertakers. 

23 And he saith unto them. Ye 
shall drink indeed of my cup, and be 
baptized with the baptism that I am 
baptized with ; but to sit on my right 
hand, and on my left, is not mine to 
give, but it shall be given to them for 
whom it is prepared of my Father. 

Observe here. Our blessed Saviour's 
wonderful mildness and gentleness towards 
his disciples ; he doth not with passion, 
much less with indignation, reprehend 
them, either for their ambition or presunsp- 
tion, but makes the best of their answer, 
and encourages their good intentions ; he 
tells them, that they should have the ho- 
nour to ^hare with him in his sufferings, 
to pledge him in his own cup, and after a 
conformity to him in his suHerings, they 
might expect to be sharers with him in his 
glory. Yet observe, that when Christ says, 
that to sit ai his right hand was not his 
to give ; he means, as he was Man, or as 
he was Mediator : for elsewhere, as God, 
we find him asserting his power to dis- 
pose of the kingdom of heaven : John x. 
28. J give unto them eternal life. How- 
ever the Arians of old, and Socinians of 
late, do from this text infer, that God the 
Father has a power reserved to himself, 
which he hath not committed to Christ 
his Son ; from whence they would con- 
clude, that he is not the same God which 
the Father is, because he hath not the same 
power which the Father has. Answer, 



But if Christ be here supposed to deny 
this power to himself, he must then mani- 
festly contradict himself, when he says, I 
appoint unto you a kingdom, and All pow- 
er in heaven and earth is given to me. 
When Christ therefore saith, he could 
only give this to them for whom it was 
appointed of his Father; this doth not 
signify any defect in his power, but a per- 
fect conformity to his Father's will, and 
that he could not do this unless the divine 
essence and nature abided in him. This 
the words rather show, than that there is 
any want of power in Christ. 

24 And when the ten heard it, 
they were moved with indignation 
against the two brethren. 25 But 
Jesus called them unto him, and 
said. Ye know that the princes of the 
Gentiles exercise dominion over 
them,- and they that are great exer- 
cise authority upon them. 26 But 
it shall not be so among you : but 
whosoever will be great among you, 
let him be your minister ; 27 And 
whosoever will be chief among you, 
let him be your servant. 

Note here, 1. That Christ by these 
words doth not forbid the exercise of civil 
dominion and lawful magistracy ; for then 
all order, all defence of good men, and 
punishment of evil-doers, would be taken 
away. Magistracy is God's ordinance, 
and the magistrate is God's minister for the 
good of human society, and consequently 
not here censured or condemned by Christ. 
True, when Christ was here on earth, he 
refused to execute the magistrate's oflfice, 
because his kingdom was not of this world, 
and because he would give no umbrage to 
Caesar or the Jews : and because he would 
leave us an example of humility and con- 
tempt of worldly grandeur, and not because 
the office of civil magistracy was unlawful. 
Note, 2. That Christ by this text doth not 
condemn the exercise of ecclesiastical go- 
vernment, that being as necessary in the 
church as the former in the state. The 
welfare of ttie church necessarily depends 
on the exercise of ecclesiastical discipline. 
Note, 3. Christ here forbids only the 
exercise of that dominion which is attended 
with tyranny and oppression ; and is man- 
aged according to men's wills and lusts : 
now, says Christ, you shall have no such 
government, you shall command nothing 
for mere will and pleasure, but your whole 



102 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. XX. 



office shall consist in being ministers to the 
good of others ; and herein ye shall re- 
semble we the Son of man, -who carne not 
to be tninistercd unto, but to jninister. 
And accordingly, tiiat Christ might effec- 
tually quench those unhappy sparks of 
ambition which were kindled in his apos- 
tles' minds, he tells them, that supremacy 
and dominion belong to secular princes, 
not to evangelical pastors, who ought to 
carry themselves with humility towards 
one another ; not that Christ directs to a 
parity and equality amongst alU his minis- 
ters, and forbids the pre-eminence of some 
over others ; but the affectation of superi- 
ority, and the love of pre-eminency, is that 
which our Saviour disallows. Learn, 1. 
That so far ought the ministers of Christ to 
be from affecting a domination and superi- 
ority of power over their fellow-brethren, 
that, in imitation of Christ their Lord and 
Master, they ought to account themselves 
fellow-servants ; I am amongst you, saith 
Christ, ax one that serveth, 2. That such 
ministcirs as do love and affect pre-emi- 
nency and superiority are most unfit for 
it ; and they deserve it best, who seek it 
least. 3. That the dignity and honour 
which tlie ministers of Christ should chiefly 
and only affect, is in another world ; and 
the way to be greatest and highest there, 
is to be low and humble here, mean in our 
own eyes, and little in our own esteem. 
fVhosocver ■will be chief, says Christ, let 
him be your servant. 

28 Even as the Son of man came 
not to be ministered unto, but to min- 
ister, and to give his life a ransom 
for many. 

To encourage his disciples to the fore- 
mentioned condescending humility one to- 
wards another, our Saviour propounds to 
them his own instructive example ; I 
came not to be ministered unto, says 
Christ, but to minister to the wants and 
necessaries of others, both for soul and 
body. " O what a sight will it be, (as if 
our Lord had said,) to behold an humble 
God, and a proud creature ; an humble Sa- 
viour, and an haughty sinner I" Yea, our 
Lord urges his example farther, that as he 
laid down his life for us, so should we be 
ready to lay down our lives for one ano- 
ther. Did Christ lay down his life for us, 
and shall we not lay down a lust for him ? 
our pride, our ambition, our affectation of 
dignity and superiority over others ? Note 
here two things, 1. Whereas it is said, that 



Christ gave his life a ransom for many ; 
it is elsewhere affirmed, that he tasted death 
for every man, even for them that denied 
the Lord who bought them. The word 
inanij, in other places of Scripture, is not 
exclusive of some, but inclusive of all. 
Thus T)an. vii. 2. Many that sleep in the 
dust shall arise ; answers St. John v. 28, 
29. All that sleep in their graves shall 
hear his voice. Thus Rom. v. 15. Through 
the offence of one many died ; answers 
1 Cor. XV. 22. In Adam all died. There 
is a virtual sufficiency in the death of Christ 
for the salvation of mankind, and an actual 
efficacy for the salvation of them that re- 
pent, and believe, and obey the gospei. 
Note, 2. From these words, He gave his 
life a ransom ; that Christ suffered in our 
stead, and died in our place, and gave his 
life instead of ours. It was the constant 
opinion both of the Jews and Gentiles, 
that their piacular victims were ransoms for 
the life of the offender, and that he who 
gave his life for another, suffered in his 
stead, to preserve him from death. And 
who can reasonably suppose, but that our 
Lord intended by saying, he gave himself 
a Ransom, that he gave his litij instead of 
the lives of those for whom he suffered ? 
Vain are the Socinians, when they say 
this price was to be paid to Satan, be- 
cause he detained us captive. True; the 
price is to be paid to him that detains the 
captive, when he doth this for gain to 
make money of him, as the Turks detain 
the christians captive at Algiers ; but when 
a man is detained in custody for violation 
of a law, then it is not the gaoler, but the 
legislator, to whom the price of redemption 
must be paid, or satisfaction be made. 
Accordingly this price was paid to God ; 
for Christ became our Ransom, as he offered 
up his life and blood for us ; now he of- 
fered himself without spot to God, Heb. 
ix. 14. he therefore paid the price of our 
-redemption to God. 

29 And as they departed from 
Jericho, a great multitude followed 
him. 30 And, behold, two blind 
men sitting by the way-side, when 
they heard that Jesus passed by, 
cried out, saying. Have mercy on 
us, O Lord, thou son of David. 31 
And the multitude rebuked them 
because they should hold their 
peace : but they cried the more, sav' 
ing. Have mercy upon us, O Lord, 



Chap. XXI. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



103 



thou son of David ! 32 And Jesus 
stood still, and called them, and 
said. What will \e that I shall do 
unto you ? 33 ThcY say unto him, 
Lord, that our eyes may he opened. 
34 So Jesus had compassion on 
them, and touched their eyes : and 
immediately their eyes received 
sight, and they followed him. 

This chapter concludes with a famous 
miracle, wrought by Clirist upon two blind 
men in the sight of a great multitude 
which followed him. Where observe, 1. 
The blind men's faith in acknowledging Je- 
sus to be the true Messias, for so much the 
title of the Son of David signifies. Ob- 
serve, 2. Their fervency, in citing so 
earnestly to Christ for mercy and healing 5 
Have mercy upon lis, thou Son oj" David. 
A true sense of want will make us cry unto 
Christ for help earnestly, and with unde- 
niable importunity. Observe, 3. The great 
condescension of Christ towards these poor 
blind men : He stood still, he called theyn, 
he had compassion on them, he touched 
their eyes, and healed them. A mighty 
instance of Christ's divine power. He that 
can open blind eyes with a touch of his 
finger, and that by his own power, is 
really God ; his touch is an omnipotent 
touch. Observe, 4. Although Christ well 
knew the condition of these blind men, 
yet before he will restore them to sight, 
they must sensibly complain of the want of 
sight, and cry unto liim for mercy and 
healing. Learn hence. That although 
Christ perfectly knows all our wants, yet 
he takes no notice of them till we make 
them known to him by prayer. Observe, 
5. The best way and course which the 
blind men take to express their thankfulness 
to Christ for recovered sight: they fol- 
lowed him. Learn thence. That mercy 
from Christ is then rightly improved, when 
it engages us to follow Christ. This should 
be the effect of all salvation wrought for 
us. He praiseth God best, that serveth 
and obeyeth him most ; the life of thank- 
fulness consists in the thankfulness of the life. 
CHAP. XXI. 
AND when they drew nigh unto 
Jerusalem, and were come to 
Bethphage, unto the Mount of 
Olives, then sentJesus two disciples, 
2 Saying unto them. Go into the 
village over against vou, and 



straightway ye shall find an ass tied, 
and a colt with her : loose them, 
and hring them unto me. 3 And if 
any man say ought unto you, ye 
shall say. The Lord hath need of 
them ; and straightway he will send 
them. 

The former part of this chapter gives us 
an account of our Saviour's solemn and 
triumphant riding into the city of Jerusa- 
lem. Where observe. That in all our Savi- 
our's journies and travels from place to 
place, he constantly went, like a poor man, 
on foot, without noise, and without train ; 
now he goes up to Jerusalem to die for 
sinners, he rides, to show his great cheer- 
fulness in that service, and his forwardness 
to lay down his lile for us. But what 
doth he ride upon ? An ass, according to 
the manner of great persons among the 
Jews ; but especially to fulfil the prophecy, 
Zcch. ix. 9. that the Messias, a king of the 
Jews, should come riding upon an ass. 
But this ass was a colt, the foal of an ass, 
on which never man hc.d rode before, says 
St Mark, chap, xi. 12. signifying thereby, 
that the most unruly and untamed creatures 
become obedient and obsequious to him ; 
and upon a borrowed ass, the use of which 
he demands, thereby manifesting his so- 
vereign right to all the creatures ; and ac- 
cordingly he bids his disciples tell the 
owner of the ass, that the Lord had need 
of him : not our Lord, but the Lord, that 
is, he that is the Lord of all, whose are the 
cattle upon a thousand hills ; he that is 
Lord of all the beasts, and the owners too. 
Observe farther. That notwithstanding 
Christ's supreme right to the ass and the 
colt, he will have neither of them taken 
without the owner's knowledge, or against 
his will ; but the disciples must acquaint 
him with it, and by a double argument 
move him to it. 1. Christ's right or do- 
minion and sovereignty over them ; he is 
the Lord that sends for them. 2. His 
present occasion for them ; the Lord has 
need of them. Note also here a wonder- 
ful instance of Christ's prescience or fore- 
knowledge, even in the most minute and 
smallest matters. L You shall find a colt. 
2. On which no man ever sat. 3. A 
colt tied and bound with its dam. 4. In 
the place where two ways met. 5. As 
they entered the village. 6. That the 
owner should be willing to let him go. 
Such an exact knowledge had Christ ot 



104 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. XXI. 



persons and actions, even of the circum- 
stances of actions. 

4 All this was done, that it might 
be fulfilled, which was spoken by 
the prophet, sayinsf, 5 Tell \e the 
daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King 
conieth unto thee, meek, and sit- 
ting upon an ass, and a colt the 
foal of an ass. 

Here the reason is assigned why Christ 
rode upon the ass into Jerusalem ; it was 
to fulfil an ancient prophecy, that the 
Messias, or king of the Jews, should come 
riding upon that beast into Jerusalem. 
There was not any prophecy of Christ 
more plainly fulfilled than this. The pro- 
phecy alluded to, is Zcc/i. Lx. 9. Rejoice 
trreat/i/, O daughter of Zion ; shout, O 
(laug/iter of Jerusalem ; behold, thji King 
Cometh unto thee ; he is just, and having 
salvation ; lotubj, and riding upon an ass, 
and upon a colt the foal of an ass. Where 
note. The character given of the Messias ; 
he is the supreme King and Governor of his 
church, thi/ King cometh. The errand 
that he comes upon, bringing salvation : 
and the entertainment which his church 
was to give him ; namely, to receive him 
with triumphs of joy, and universal accla- 
mations. Bejoice, O daughter of Zion ; 
and shout, O Jerusalem, for joy. 

6 And the disciples went, and 
did as Jesus commanded them, 7 
And brought the ass, and the colt, 
ami put on them their clothes, and 
they set him thereon. 8 And a 
very great multitude spread their 
garments in the way ; others cut 
down branches from the trees, and 
strawed them in the way. 9 And 
the multitudes that went before, and 
that followed, cried, sa\ing, Hosanna 
to the Son of David ! Blessed is he 
that cometh in the name of the 
Lord ; Hosanna in the highest ! 

Observe here, 1 . The obedience of his 
disciples, and the motions of the multitude ; 
the disciples never dispute their Lord's 
commands, nor raise objections, nor are 
afraid of dangers, but speedily execute their 
Lord's pleasure, and find every thing ac- 
cording to their Lord's predictions. When 
our call is clear, our obedience must be 
ppeedy. What God connnands, we are 



not to dispute, but to obey. T^e disciples 
did as Jesus commanded them. Observe, 
2. The actions of the multitude in acknow- 
ledging Christ to be their king ; They cast 
their garments upon the ground for him 
to ride upon, according to the custom of 
princes when they ride in state ; but they 
do not only disrobe their backs, but 
expend their breath in joyful acclama- 
tions and loud hosannas, wishing all 
manner of prosperity to this meek but 
mighty king. In this princely, yet poor 
and despicable pomp, doth our Saviour 
enter into that famous city of Jerusalem. 
O how far was our holy Lord from affect- 
ing worldly greatness and grandeur ! He 
despised that glory which worldly hearts 
fondly admire 5 yet because he was a King, 
he would be proclaimed such, and have 
his kingdom confessed, applauded, and 
blest ; but that it might appear that his 
kingdo7n was not of this world, he aban- 
dons all worldly magnificence. O glori- 
ous, yet homely pomp! O meek, but 
mighty prince. 

10 And when he was come into 
Jerusalem, all the city was moved, 
saying, Who is this? 11 And the 
multitude said. This is Jesus, the 
prophet of Nazareth of Galilee. 

This is not the first or only time that 
Jerusalem was moved and troubled at the 
appearance of Christ ; at his birth. Matt. 
ii. we read, all .Jerusalem was troubled, 
together with Herod ; and now that he 
rides into Jerusalem, though in so mean a 
port, yet there is a new commotion. Je- 
rusalem, instead of being thankful for his 
company, is troubled at his presence. 
Thence learn. That such persons and pla- 
ces as have the greatest helps and privileges 
afforded to them, are not always the most 
answerable in their returns of thankfulness. 
It is not Christ's presence with us, but his 
wel come to us, that makes us happy. Christ 
is daily taught in our synagogues, and 
preached in our streets ; yet, alas ! multi- 
tudes are ignorant of him, and say with the 
men of Jenisalem, when Christ was before 
their eyes, IfV/o is this? 

12 And Jesus went into the tem- 
ple of God, and cast out all them 
that sold and bought in the temple 
and overthrew the tables of the 
money-changers, and the seats of 
them that sold doves ; 13 And said 
unto them. It is written, My house 



Chap. XXI. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



105 



shall be called the house of prayer ; 
but ye have made it a den of thieves. 

Our blessed Saviour having entered Jeru- 
salem, observe, his first walk was not to the 
palace, but to the temple, and his work 
there was to purge and reform : all refor- 
mation of manners must begin first at the 
house of God. Our Lord's business was to 
reform the temple, not to ruin it. Places 
dedicated to the service of God, if profaned 
and polluted, ought to be purged from 
their abuses, not pulled down and destroy- 
ed, because they have been abused. But 
what was the profanation of the temple, 
which so otfended our Saviour ? Answer, 
Within the third or outward court of the 
temple, there was a public mart or mar- 
ket held, where were sold oxen, sheep, 
and doves, and such things as were need- 
ful for sacrifice ; many of the Jews coming 
an hundred miles to the temple, it was bur- 
densome to bring their sacrifices so far with 
them ; wherefore order was taken by the 
priests, that sheep and oxen, meal and oil, 
and all other requisites for sacrifice, should 
be had for money close by the altar, to the 
great ease of the offerer. Nothing could 
be more plausible than tliis plea. But the 
fairest pretences cannot bear out a sin with 
God ; therefore our blessed Saviour, in 
indignation at so foul an abuse, whips 
out these chapmen, casts down their ta- 
bles, and vindicates the honour and repu- 
tation of his Father's house. Learn thence, 
That there is a reverence due to God's 
house for the Owner's sake, and for the 
service sake. Nothing but holiness can 
become that place, where God is worship- 
ped in the beauty of holiness. Observe 
lastly, The reason which our Saviour gives 
for this act of his ; for, says he. It is 
•written, M)j house shall be called an house 
of prayer. Where by prayer is to be 
understood the whole worship and service 
of Almighty God, of which prayer is an 
eminent and principal part. That which 
gives denomination to an house, is certainly 
the cliief work being done in that house. 
Now God's house being called an house of 
prayer, certainly implies that prayer is the 
chief and principal work to be performed 
in his house ; yet must we take heed that 
we set not the ordinances of God at va- 
riance one with another; we must not 
idolize one ordinance, and vilify another ; 
but pay an awful respect and regard to 
all the institutions of our Maker. 

14 And the blind and the lame 



came to him in the temple ; and he 
healed them. 15 And when the 
chief priests and scribes saw the 
wonderful things that he did, and the 
children crying in the temple, and 
saying, Ilosanna to the son of Dfivid ! 
they were sore displeased, 16 And 
said unto him, Hearest thou what 
these say? And Jesus saith unto 
them. Yea : have ye never read, Out 
of the mouth of babes and sucklings 
thou hast perfected praise ? 

Observe here, 1. That our blessed Savi- 
our works his miracles, not secretly in a cor- 
ner, but openly in a temple, and submits them 
to the examination of all persons' senses, 
A miracle is a supernatural action which is 
obvious to sense. Popish miracles are talk- 
ed of by many, but seen by none. Observe, 
2. That Christ's enemies are never more 
incensed, than when his divine power is 
most exerted, and his divine nature owned 
and acknowledged. When the chief priests 
saxo the miracles which Jesus didf and 
heard the children crying, Hosajina to 
the Son of David, they were sore displeas- 
ed. Observe, 3. That Christ can glorify 
himself by the mouth of babes and suck- 
lings ; he can form and fit up what instru- 
ments he pleases to show forth his excel- 
lences and celebrate his praises. Out of 
the mouth of babes and sucklings thou 
hast perfected praise. 

17 And he left them, and went 
out of the city into Bethany ; and he 
lodged there. 18 Now in the 
morning, as he returned into the city, 
he hungered. 19 And when he saw 
a fig-tree in the way, he came to it, 
and found nothing thereon, but 
leaves only, and said unto it, Let no 
fruit grow on thee henceforward for 
ever. And presently the fig-tree 
withered away. 

Our blessed Saviour having driven the 
buyers and sellers out of the temple, lodges 
not that night in Jerusalem, but withdraws 
to Bethany, a place of retirement from the 
noise and tumult of the city. Where note. 
Our Lord's love of solitude and retiredness. 
How delightful is it to a good man, to dwell 
sometimes within himself, to take the 
wings of a dove, andfy away, and be at 
rest ! Yet the next morning our Lord re- 
turns to the city : he knew when to be 



loa 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. XXI. 



solitary, and when to be sociable j when 
to be alone, and when to converse in com- 
pany. In his passage to the city, he espied 
a fig-tree ; and being an hundred (to show 
the trutli of his humanity) he goes to the 
fig-tree, and finds it fiiil of leaves, but 
without any fruit. Displeased with this 
disappointment, he curses the tree which 
had deceived his expectation. This action 
of our Saviour, in cursing the barren fig- 
tree, was typical ; an emblem of the de- 
struction of Jerusalem in general, and of 
every person in particular, that satisfies 
himself with a withered profession, bearing 
leaves only, but no fruit. As this fig-tree 
Wcis, so are they nigh, unto cursing. Learn 
hence, That such as content themselves 
with a fruitless profession of religion, are 
in great danger of having God's blasting 
added to their barrenness. 

20 And when the disciples saw it, 
they marvelled, saying. How soon is 
the tig-tree withered away ! 21 
Jesus answered and said unto them, 
Verily I say unto you, If ye have 
faith, and doubt not, ye shall notonly 
do this ivhich is done to the fig-tree, 
but also, if ye shall say unto this 
mountain, Be thou removed, and be 
thou cast into the sea, it shall be 
done. 22 And all things whatso- 
ever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, 
ye shall receive. 

The disciples being filled with admi- 
ration at the sudden withering of the fig- 
tree, thereupon our Saviour exhorts them to 
have foith in God ; that is, firmly to lely 
upon the power of God whereby he is 
able, upon the goodness of God whereby 
he is willing, to fulfil his promises to us. 
Learn, 1. That faith is a necessary ingre- 
dient in prayer. Praying without faith, is 
like shooting without a bullet : it makes a, 
noise, but does no execution. 2. That 
whatsoever good thing God has made the 
matter of a promise, shall be given to good 
men, praying in fdith. Whatsoever ye 
ask in prai/er, believing, 7/e shall receive. 
Yet note. That the faith here promised to 
root up mountains, must be restrained to 
that age of miracles, and to the persons to 
whom this was spoken, namely, the apos- 
tles and first ]:)ropagators of the gospel ; it 
being certain from experience, tliat this is 
no ordmary and perpetual gift of chris- 
tians. 



23 And when he was come into 
the temple, the chief priests and the 
elders of the people came unto him 
as he was teaching, and said. By 
what authority doest thou these 
things ? and who gave thee this 
authority? 24 And Jesus answered 
and said unto them, I also will ask 
you one thing, which if ye tell me, 
I in like wise will tell you by what 
authority I do these things. 25 
The baptism of John, whence was it ? 
from heaven, or of men ? And they 
reasoned with themselves, saying, If 
we shall say. From heaven : he will 
say unto us, Why did ye not then 
believe him ? 26 But if we shall 
say. Of men ; we fear the people ; 
for all hold John as a prophet. 27 
And they answered Jesus, and said. 
We cannot tell. And he said unto 
them. Neither tell I you by what 
authority I do these things. 

The Pharisees having often questioned 
our Saviour's doctrine before, they call in 
question his mission and authority now ; 
although they might easily have understood 
his divine mission by his divine miracles. 
Almighty God never empowered any to 
work miracles that were not sent by him. 
When the adversaries of Christ can object 
nothing against his doctrine, they then 
quarrel with him about his commission 
and calling, and demand by what autho- 
rity he doth teach and work miracles. 
Our blessed Saviour, well understanding 
their drift and design, answers them one 
question by asking them another. 2Vie 
daptisjn of ,Tohn, was it from heaven, or 
of m€n ? Was it of divine institution, or 
of human invention? Implying that the 
calling of such as call themselves the mi- 
nisters of God, ought to be from God. No 
man ought to take this honour upon him- 
self, but he that is called of God, as was 
Aaron,l{eh.v. 4. The Pharisees reply, they 
could not tell whence John had his mis- 
sion and authority. This was a manifest 
untruth : by refusing to tell the truth, they 
fall into a lie. One sin ensnares, and 
draws men into the commission of more. 
Such as will not speak exact truth, ac- 
cording to their knowledge, they fall 
into the sin of lying against their con- 
sciences. Our Saviour answers them, Nei- 



Chap. XXI. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



107 



ther tell I you by tvhat authority I do 
these things. He doth not say, I cannot, 
or, I will not tell you ; but I do not, I 
need not tell you, because the miracles 
which I work before you, are a suthcient 
demonstration of my divine commission, 
that I am sent of God amongst you ; for 
God nevCT set the seal of his omnipotence 
to a lie, or empowered an impostor to work 
real miracles. 

28 But what think ye ? A certain 
man had two sons? and he came to 
the first, and said. Son, go work to- 
day in my vineyard. 29 He an- 
swered and said, I will not ; but 
afterward he repented, and went. 

30 And he came to the second, and 
said likewise. And he answered 
and said, I go, sir ; and went not. 

31 Whether of them twain did the 
will of his father ? They say unto 
him. The first. Jesus saith unto 
then). Verily I say unto you. That 
the publicans and the harlots go into 
the kingdom of God before you. 

32 For John came unto you in the 
way of righteousness, and ye be- 
lieved him not ; but the publicans 
and the harlots believed him : and 
ye, when ye had seen it, repented 
not afterward, that ye might believe 
him. 

The design and scope of this parable is 
to show, That publicans and harlots, that 
is, the vilest, the profanest, and worst of 
sinners, who, upon the hearing of Christ's 
doctrine and miracles, did repent and be- 
lieve, were in a much better condition than 
the proud Pharisees, who though they pre- 
tended to great measures of knowledge, 
and high degrees of holiness, yet did 
obstinately oppose Christ, disobey his doc- 
trine, deny his miracles, and set at nought 
his person. Learn hence. That the great- 
est, the vilest, and the worst of sinners, 
upon their repentance and faith in Christ, 
shall much sooner find acceptance with 
God, than proud Pharisaical judiciaries, 
M'ho confidently rely upon their own right- 
eousness : Publicans and harlots, says 
Christ here to the Pharisees, shall. go into 
the kingdom of God before you. Publi- 
cans were the worst sort of men, and har- 
lots the worst kind of women ; yet did 
tJiese repent sooner, and believed in Christ 



before the proud Pharisees. The reason 
was, because their hearts lay more open to 
the strokes of conviction, than those that 
were blinded by vain hopes and presump- 
tuous confidence. Security frustrates all 
means of recovery. 

33 Hear another parable : There 
was a certain householder, which 
planted a vineyard, and hedged it 
round about, and digged a wine- 
press in it, and built a tower, and 
let it out to husbandmen, and went 
into a far country : 34 And when 
the time of the fruit drew near, he 
sent his servants to the husbandmen, 
that they might receive the fruits of 
it. 35 And the husbandmen took 
his servants, and beat one, and kill- 
ed another, and stoned another. 36 
Again, "he sent other servants more 
thanthefirst : and they did unto them 
likewise. 27 But last of all he sent 
unto them his son, saying, They will 
reverence my son. 38 But when 
the husbandmen saw the son, they 
said among themselves, This is the 
heir ; come, let us kill him, and let 
us seize on his inheritance. 39 
And they caught him, and cast him 
out of the vineyard, and slew /tint. 

In this parable God compares the Jew- 
ish church to a vineyard ! himself to an 
householder : his planting, pruning, and 
fencing his vineyard, denotes his care to 
furnish his church with all needful helps 
and means to make it spiritually fruitful. 
His letting it out to husbandmen, signifies 
his committing the care of his church to 
the priests and Levites, the public pastors 
and governors of the church. His servants 
are the prophets and apostles, whom he 
sent from time to time, to admonish them 
to bring forth fruit answerable to the 
cost which God had expended on them. 
His son is Jesus Christ, whom the rulers of 
the Jewish church slew and murdered. 
The scope of the parable is to discover to 
the Jews, particularly to the Pharisees, their 
obstinate impenitency under all means, 
their bloody cruelty to the prophets of 
God, their tremendous guilt in crucifying 
the Son of God ; for all which, God would 
unchurch them finally, and ruin their na- 
tion, and set up a church among the Gen- 
tiles that should bring forth belter fruit 



108 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. XXI. 



than the Jewish church ever did. From 
the whole note, 1 . That the church is God's 
vineyard, exceeding dear and precious to 
the Planter and the Owner of it. 2. As 
dear as God's vineyard is unto him, in case 
of barrenness and unfruitfulness, it is in 
great danger of being destroyed and laid 
waste by him. 3. That the only way 
and course to engage God's care over his 
vineyard, and to prevent his giving it to 
other husbandmen, is to give him the 
fruits of it. It is but a vineyard that God 
lets out, it is no inheritance. No people 
ever had so many promises of God's favour 
as the Jews had, nor ever enjoyed so many 
privileges, whilst they stood in his favour, 
as the Jews did 5 yet though they were the 
first, and the natural branches, they are 
broken off, and xve Gentiles stand bif 
faith. : let us not be high-minded, but 
fear, Rom. xi. 20. 

40 When the Lord, therefore, of 
the vineyard coineth, what will he 
do unto those husbandmen } 41 
They say unto him, He will misera- 
bly destroy those wicked men, and 
will let out his vineyard unto other 
husbandmen, which shall render 
him the fruits in their seasons. 

Observe here. At the first mentioning of 
the parable, the Pharisees express a bitter 
indignation against such wicked servants, 
not considering what a dreadful sentence 
they passed upon themselves and their own 
nation. Little did they think, that there- 
by they condemned their temple to be 
burnt, their city to be destroyed, their 
country to be ruined ; but in these words 
they vindicate God, they condemn them- 
selves, and own the justice of God in in- 
flicting the severest pimishments on them. 

42 Jesus saith unto them. Did ye 
never read in the scriptures, The 
stone which the builders rejected, 
the same is become the head of the 
corner : this is the Lord's doing, 
and it is marvellous in our eyes ? 
43 Therefore say I unto vou, The 
kingdom of God shall betaken from 
you, and given to a nation bringing 
forth the fruits thereof. 

Which words are the application that 
our Saviour makes of the foregoing para- 
ble concerning the vineyard ; which the 
chief priests and Pharisees did not appre- 



hend themselves to be concerned in, till he 
brought the application of it home unto 
them. Therefore I sai/ unto you. The 
kinsdo7n of God shall be taken from i/ou, 
Sfc. Note, 1. The greatest mercy that God 
can bestow upon any people, is his giving 
his kingdom to them ; that is, all gospel- 
ordinances and church-privileges, leading 
to the kingdom of heaven. 2. Observe 
the terms upon which God either gives or 
continues his kingdom to a church and 
nation ; and that is, upon bringing forth 
the fruits thereof Learn, 3. That the 
greatest judgment which can befall a peo- 
ple, is the taking away the kingdom of 
God from them. The kingdotn of God 
shall be taken from r/ou, and given, Sfc. 

44 And whosoever shall fall on 
this stone shall be broken : but on 
whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind 
him to powder. 

These words are taken out of the cxviiith 
Psalm, which the Jews understood to be a 
prophecy of the Messiah, and accordingly 
Christ applies them to himself. The church 
is the building intended, Christ himself 
the Stone rejected ; the rejecters, or the 
builders rejecting, were the heads of the 
Jewish church; that is, the chief priests 
and Pharisees. God, the great Master- 
Builder of this chiurch, takes this precious 
foundation-stone out of the rubbish, and 
sets it in the head of the corner. Never- 
theless, there are some who stumble at this 
stone. Some through ignorance, others 
through malice, stumble at his person, at 
his doctrine, at his institutions. These 
shall be broken in pieces, but on whomso- 
ever this stone shall fall, it -will grindhim 
topoxvder. That is, Christ himself will fall 
as a burdensome stone upon all those that 
knowingly and maliciously oppose him ; 
and particularly upon the Jews, who not 
only rejected him, but persecuted and de- 
- stroyed him. Thus Christ tells the chief 
priests and Pharisees their own particular 
doom, and also declares what will be the 
fatal issue of all that opposition which is 
made against himself and his church. It 
will terminate in their inevitable and irre- 
parable destruction. Whosoever shall fall 
on this stone, shall he broken ; and on 
■tvho7nsoevcr it shall fall, it -will grind him 
to poxcder. That is, " He that stumbles on 
this stone, while Christ is here on earth, 
being offended at his doctrine, life, and 
miracles, shall be broken by his fall upon 
it ; as the person stoned is by the sharp 



Chap. XXir. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



loa 



stone which he falls upon. But he on 
whom this stone shall fall, when Christ is 
elevated to his throne of glory, shall be 
more violently shattered by it, as is the 
person stoned, by the great stone as big as 
two men can lift, tlirown down violently 
upon his breast." 

45 And when the chief priests 
and Pharisees had heard his para- 
bles, they perceived that he spake 
of them. 46 But when they sought 
to lay hands on him, they feared the 
multitude, because they took him 
for a prophet. 

When the chief priests came to under- 
stand that these parables were all applied 
to them, that they were the murderers of 
the Kintrs Son, that they were the builders 
that rejected the chief corner-stone, they 
were enraged at the close application made 
to themselves ; and had not fear restrained 
them, would have laid violent hands upon 
\m. Learn thence, That nothing doth 
more provoke and exasperate unsound hy- 
pocrites, than the particular application, and 
close coming home, of the word of God 
unto their hearts and consciences. So 
.ong as the truths of God are generally 
delivered, sinners are easy, looking upon 
themselves as unconcerned ; but when the 
word of God comes close to them, and 
says. Thou art the man, this is thy wick- 
edness ; they are angry at the message, and 
rage at the messenger. 

CHAP. xxn. 

A ND Jesus answered and spake 
unto them again by parables, 
and said, 2 The kingdom of hea- 
ven is like unto a certain king, 
which made a marriage for his son, 
3 And sent forth his servants to call 
them that were bidden to the wed- 
ding : and they would not come. 4 
Again, he sent forth other servants, 
saying. Tell them which are bidden. 
Behold, I have prepared my dinner : 
my oxen and my fatlings are killed, 
and all things are ready : come unto 
the marriage. 5 But they made 
iight of it, and went their ways, 
one to his farm, and another to his 
merchandise : fi And the rem- 
nant took his servants, and entreat- 
ed them spitefully, and slew them. 



7 But when the king heard thereof, 
he was wroth : and he sent forth his 
armies, and destroyed those mur- 
derers, and burned up their city. 8 
Then saith he to his servants. The 
wedding is ready, but they which 
were bidden were not worthy. 1> 
Go ye, therefore, into the highways; 
and as many as ye shall find, bid to 
the marriage. 10 So those ser- 
vants went out into the highways, 
and gathered together all, as many 
as they found, both bad and good : 
and the wedding was furnished with 
guests. 11 And when the king 
came in to see the guests, he saw 
there a man which had not on a 
wedding-garment : 12 And he saith 
unto him. Friend, how camest thou 
in hither, not having a wedding gar- 
ment ? And he was speechless. 13 
Then said the king to the servants. 
Bind him hand and foot, and take 
him away, and cast hiv^ into outer 
darkness ; there shall be weeping 
and gnashing of teeth. 

The design and scope of this parable ot 
the marriage-supper, is to set torth that 
gracious offer of mercy and salvation, 
which was made by God in and through 
the preaching of the gospel to the church 
of the Jews. The gospel is here compared 
to 2. feast, because in a feast there is plenty, 
variety and dainties. Also to a marriage- 
feast, being full of joy, delight, and plea- 
sure. And to a marriage-feast made by 
a king, as being full of state, magnificence, 
and grandeur. To this marriage-feast, or 
gospel-supper. Almighty God invited the 
church of the Jews; and the servants sent 
forth to invite them, were the prophets and 
apostles in general, and John the Baptist 
in particular, whom they entreated spite- 
fully, and slew. J'he making tight of the 
invitation, signifies the generality of the 
Jews' refusal and careless contempt of the 
ofFei's of grace in the gospel. By the a?-- 
mies which God sent forth to destroy those 
7nurderers, are meant the Roman soldiers, 
who spoiled and laid waste the city of 
Jerusalem, and were the severe execu- 
tioners of God's wrath and judgment upon 
the wicked Jews. The high-xa^/s signify 
the despised Gentiles, who upon the Jews' 
refusal were invited to this supper, and 



110 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. XXII. 



prevailetl witli to come in. The king's 
coming in to see Iti-i guests, denotes that 
inspectjoa which Christ makes into his 
church m the times of the gospel. By the 
man -j:itliout the xnedding gunnent, un- 
derstand such as are destitute of true grace 
and real holiness, both in heart and life. 
In the examination of him, Christ says, 
Friend, how earnest thou in hither ? not. 
Friends, why came ye along with him ? 
Teaching us, that if unholy persons will 
press in to the Lord's supper, the sin is 
tlieirs ; but if we come not, because they 
will come, the sin is ours. The presence 
of an unholy person at the Lord's table, 
ought not to discourage us from our duty, 
or cause us to turn our back upon that or- 
dinance. The command to bind the un- 
qualified person hand and foot, and to cast 
him into outer darkness, plainly intimates, 
that the condition of such persons as live 
under the light, and enjoy the liberty of the 
gospel, but walk not answerably to their 
profession, is deplorably sad and doleful : 
they do not only incur damnation, but 
no damnation like it. Bind linn hand 
and foot, and cast him into outer darkness. 
From the whole note, L That the gospel, 
for its freeness and fulness, for its varieties 
and delicacies, is like a marriage-supper. 
2. That gospel-invitations are mightily 
disesteemed. 3. That the preference which 
the world has in man's esteem is a great 
cause ofthe gospel's contempt. They went 
one to his farm, and another to his mer- 
chandise. 4. That such as are careless iu 
the day of grace, shall undoubtedly be 
speechless in the day of judgment. 5. 
That Christ takes a more particular notice 
of every guest that cometh to his royal 
supper, than any of his ministers do take, 
or can take. There was but one person 
without the wedding garment, and he falls 
under the eye and view of Christ. 6. 
That it is not sufficient that we come, hut 
clothed we must be before we come, if ever 
we expect a gracious welcome to Christ's 
wpper ; clothed with sincerity, clothed 
with humility ; clothed with love and 
charity ; if we be not thus clothed, we 
shall appear naked to our shame, and hear 
that dreadful charge, Wind him hand and 
foot, and cast him into outer darkness, 
•uhere is weeping and gnashing of teeth. 
See Lukexiv. 17. 

14 For many are called, but few 
arc. chosen. 

This is our blessed Saviour's application 



of the foregoing parable to the Jews ; he 
(ells them, that many of them, indeed all 
of them were called, that is, invited to the 
gospel-supper ; but with few, very few of 
them, was found that sincere faith, and 
that sound repentance, which doth accom- 
pany salvation. Learn hence. That a- 
mongst the multitude of those that are 
called by the gospel unto holiness and obe- 
dience, few, very few comparatively, do 
obey that call, and shall be eternally saved. 

15 Thea went the Pharisees, and 
took counsel how they might en- 
tangle him in his talk. 16 And 
they sent out unto him their disciples 
with the Herodians, saying, Master, 
we know that thou art true, and 
teachest the way of God in truth, 
neither carest thou for any man ; 
for thou regardest not the person 
of men. 17 Tell us therefore. What 
thinkest thou ? Is it lawful to give 
tribute unto Cesar, or not? 18 
But Jesus perceived their wicked- 
ness, and said. Why tempt ye me, 
ye hypocrites ? 19 Shew me the 
tribute money. And they brought 
unto him a penny. 20 And he 
saith unto them, Whose is this 
image and superscription ? 21 They 
sav unto him, Cesar's. Then saith 
he unto them, Render therefore unto 
Cesar the things which are Cesar's, 
and unto God the things that are 
God's. 22 When they had heard 
these words, they marvelled, and 
left him, and went their way. 

Here we have another new design to 
entangle our blessed Saviour in his dis- 
course. Where observe, 1. The persons 
employed to put the ensnaring question to 
- our Saviour, namely, the Pharisees and 
the Herodians. The Pharisees were against 
paying tribute to Cesar; looking upon 
themselves as a free people, and the em- 
peror as an usm-per. But the Herodians 
were for it. Herod being made by the 
Roman emperor king of the Jews, was zea- 
lous for having the Jews pay tribute to 
Cesar ; and such of the Jews as sided with 
him, and particularly his courtiers and 
favourites, were called Herodians. Ob- 
serve, 2. The policy and wicked craft here 
used, in employing these two contrary 
sects to put the question to our Saviour 



Chap. XXII. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Ill 



concerning Iributo ; thereby laying him 
under a necessity (as they hoped) to oflTend 
one side, let him answer how he would. 
If to please the Pharisees he denied paying 
tribute to Cesar, then he is accused of 
sedition j if to gratify the Herodians he 
voted for paying tribute, then he is looked 
upon as an enemy to the liberty of his 
country, and exposed to a popular odium : 
it has been the old policy of Satan and his 
instruments, to draw the ministers of God 
into dislike, either with the magistrates or 
with the people, that they may either fall 
under the censure of the one, or the dis- 
pleasure of the other. Observe, 3. With 
what wisdom and caution our Lord an- 
swers them ; he first calls for the tribute- 
money, which was the Roman penny, 
answering to seven pence halfpenny of 
our money, two of which they paid by 
W3.J of tribute, or poll-money, for every 
head to the emperor. Christ asks them 
whose mage or superscription their coin 
bore ? They answer, Cesar's : Render 
then, says Christ, to Cesar the things that 
are Cesar's. As if he had said, " The 
admitting of the Roman coin amongst 
you, is a testimony that you are under 
subjection to the Roman emperor, because 
the coining aud imposing of money is an 
act of sovereign authority. Now you have 
owned Cesar's authority over you, by ac- 
cepting of his coin as current amongst you, 
give unto him his just dues, and render 
unto Cesar the things that are Cesar's." 
Learn hence. That there was no truer pay- 
master of the king's dues, than he that 
was King of kings ; he preached it, and 
he practised it, Matt. xvii. 27. And as 
Christ is no Enemy to th-e civil rights of 
princes, and his religion exempts none 
from paying their civil duties ; so princes 
should be as careful not to rob him of his 
divine honour, as he is not to wrong them 
of their civil rights. As Christ requires 
all his followers to render unto Cesar the 
things that are Cesar's so should princes 
oblige all their subjects to render unto 
God the things that are God's. 

23 The same day came to hira 
the Sadducees, which say that 
there is no resurrection, and asked 
him, 24 Saying, Master, Moses 
said, If a man die, having no chil- 
dren, his brother shall marry his 
wife, and raise up seed unto his 
brother. 25 Now there were with 



us seven .brethren : and the first, 
when he had married a wife, de- 
ceased, and, having no issue, left his 
wife unto his brother : 26 Likewise 
the second also, and the third, unto 
the seventh. 27 And last of all 
the woman died also. 28 There- 
fore, in the resurrection, whose wife 
shall she be of the seven .'' for they 
all had her. 29 Jesus answered 
and said unto them, Ye do err, not 
knowing the scriptures, nor the 
power of God. 30 For in the re- 
surrection they neither marry, nor 
are given in marriage, but are as 
tlie angels of God in heaven. 31 
But as touching the resurrection of 
the dead, have ye not read that 
which was spoken unto you by God, 
saying, " 32 I am the God of Abra- 
ham, and the God of Isaac, and 
the God of Jacob ? God is not 
the God of the dead, but of the 
living. 33 And when the multi- 
tude heard this, they were astonish- 
ed at his doctrine. 

Our blessed Saviour having put the Pha- 
risees and Herodians to silence, next the 
Sadducees encounter him. This sect de- 
nied the immortality of the soul, and the 
resurrection of the body, and as an ob- 
jection against both they propound a case 
to our Saviour, of a woman that had had 
seven brethren successively to her hus- 
bands : they demand. Whose wife of the 
seven this woman shall be at the resurrec- 
tion ? As if they had said, " If there be a 
resurrection of bodies, surely there will be 
a resurrection of relations too, and the 
other world will be like this, in which men 
will marry as they do here. And if so, 
whose wife of the seven shall this woman 
be, they all having an equal claim to her ?" 
Now our Saviour, for resolving of this 
question, I. Shows the different state of 
men in this world and in the other world. 
The children of this world, says Christ, 
marry, and are given in marriage ; but in 
the resurrection they do neither. As if 
our Lord had said, " After men have lived 
awhile in this world they die, and therefore 
marriage is necessary to maintain a succes- 
sion of mankind ; but in the other world 
men should become immortal, and live for 
ever 5 and then the reason of marriage 



112 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. xxir. 



will wholly cease. For wlien men can 
die no more, there will be no need of any 
new supplies of mankind." 2. Our Sa- 
viour having got clear of the Sadducees' 
objection, by taking away the ground and 
foundation of it, he produceth an argument 
for. a proof of the soul's immortality and 
the body's resurrection. Thus, " Those 
to whom Almighty God pronounced him- 
self a God, are alive ; But God pronounced 
himself a God to Abraham, Isaac, and 
Jacob, many hundred years after their 
bodies were dead; therefore their souls 
are yet alive, federally alive imto God: 
their covenant relation lives still, otherwise 
God could not be their God : for he is not 
ihe God of the dead, but of the living. If 
one relation fails, the other necessarily 
fails with it; if God be their God, then 
certainly they are in being, /or God is not 
the God of the dead ; that is, of those that 
are utterly perished. Therefore it must 
needs be, that although their bodies be 
naturally dead, yet do their souls still live, 
and their bodies shall also live again at the 
resurrection of the just." From the whole, 
note, 1. That there is no opinion so absurd, 
no error so monstrous, that having had a 
mother will die for the lack of a nurse. 
The beastly opinion of the mortality of 
the soul, and the annihilation of the body, 
finds Sadducees to profess and propagate it. 
Note, 2. The certainty of another life after 
this, in which men shall be eternally hap- 
py or intolerably miserable, according as 
they behave themselves here : though some 
men live like beasts, they shall not die 
like them, nor shall their last end be like 
theirs. Note, 3. That glorified saints in 
the morning of their resurrection shall be 
like unto the glorious angels : not like 
them in essence and nature, but like them 
in their properties and qualities, in holiness 
and purity, in immortality and incorrup- 
tibility, and in their manner of living ; they 
shall no more stand in need of meat and 
drink than the angels do ; but shall live" 
the same heavenly, immortal, and incor- 
ruptible life, that the angels live. Note, 4. 
That all those that are in covenant with 
God, whose God the Lord is, their souls 
do immediately pass into glory, and their 
bodies at the resurrection shall be sharers 
in the same happiness with their souls. 
If God be just, the soul must live, and the 
body must rise : for good men must be 
rewarded, and wicked men punished ; God 
will most certainly, some time or other, 
plentifully reward the righteous, and pun- 



ish the evil-doers ; but this being not al- 
ways done in this life, the justice of God 
requires it to be done in the next. 

34 But when the Pharisees had 
heard that he had put the Sadducees 
to silence, they were gathered toge- 
ther. 35 Then one of them, which 
ivas a lawyer, asked him a question, 
tempting him, and saying, 36 Mas- 
ter, which is the great commandment 
in the law ? 37 Jesus said unto 
him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy 
God with all thy heart, and with 
all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 
39 This is the first and great com- 
mandment. 39 And the second is 
like unto it, Thou shalt love thy 
neighbour as thyself. 40 On these 
two commandments hang all the 
law and the prophets. 

The Sadducees being put by Christ to 
silence, the Pharisees again encounter him ; 
they send to him a lawyer, that is, one of 
their interpreters and expounders of the 
law of Moses, who propounds this question 
to him. Which is the great commandment 
of the law ? Our Saviour tells them. It is 
to love the Lord with all the heart, and 
nvith all the soul, and with all the ?nind. 
That is, with all the powers, faculties, and 
abilities of the soul, with the greatest mea- 
sure and highest degrees of love. This is 
the sum and substance of the duties of the 
first table. And the second is like unto 
it, not equal with it, but like unto it. The 
duties of the second table are of the same 
authority, and of the same necessity with 
the first. As a man cannot be saved with- 
out the love of God, so neither without the 
love of his neighbour. On these two com- 
ynandments hang all the law and the 
prophets ; that is, the whole duty of man, 
required by Moses and the prophets, is 
comprehended in, and may be reduced to, 
these two heads, namely, the love of God 
and our neighbour. From the whole note, 
1. That the fervency of all our atfections, 
and particularly the supremacy of our love, 
is required by God as his right and due. 
Love must pass through and possess all the 
faculties of the soul ; the mind must me- 
ditate upon God, the will must choose and 
embrace him, and the affections must take 
complacency and delight in him ; the mea- 
sure of loving God, is to love him without 
measure. God reckons that we love him 



Chap. XXII. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



113 



not at all, if we love him not above all. 1 , 
We must love him above all, appretiative, 
so as to prize him in our judgment and es- 
teem above all and before all thnigs. 2. We 
arc; to love God above all tlnngs compara- 
tive, preferring his favours above all things, 
comparatively hating whatever stands in 
competition with lum. 3. We are to love 
God above all things intensivi. That is, our 
longing desires must run out after him, we 
must pant and thirst for the enjoyment of 
him. We must love every thing in subor- 
dination to God, and nothing co-ordinately 
or equally with God. Note, 2. That thus 
to love God is the tirst and great command- 
ment. Great, in regard of the object, 
which is God, the first Cause, and the chief 
Good. Great, in regard of the obligation 
of it. To love God is so indispensable a 
command, that God himself cannot free us 
from the obligation of it ; for so long as he 
is God, and we his creatures, we shall lie 
under a natural and necessary obligation 
to love and serve him. Great, in regard 
of the duration of it, when faith shall be 
swallowed up in vision, and hope in fru- 
ition ; love will then be perfected in a full 
enjoyment. Note, 3. That every man 
may, yea, ought to love himself, not his 
sinful self, but his natural self, and especi- 
ally his spiritual self, the new nature in him. 
This it ought to be his particular care to in- 
crease and strengthen. Indeed there is no 
express command in scripture for a man to 
love himself, because the light of nature di- 
rects, and the law of nature binds and moves, 
every man so to do. God has put a prin- 
ciple of self-love and self-preservation into 
all his creatures, but especially into man. 
Note, 4. As every man ought to love him- 
self, so it is every man's duty to love his 
neighbour as himself. 1 . Not as he does 
love himself, but as'he ought to love him- 
self. Not in the same degree and measure 
that he loves himself, but after the same 
manner, and with the same kind of love 
that he loves himself. As we love ourselves 
freely and readily, sincerely and unfeign- 
edly, tenderly and compassionately, con- 
stantly and perseveringly ; so should we 
love our neighbour. Though we are not 
commanded to love our neighbour as much 
as we love ourselves, yet we are to love him 
like as we love ourselves. Note, lastly. 
That the duties of the first and second 
table are inseparable. The love of God 
and our neighbour must not be parted. 
He that loveth not his neighbour -whom he 
hath seen, never loved God whom he hath 



?iot seen. A conscientious regard to the 
duties of both tables, will be an argument 
of our sincerity, and an ornament to our 
profession. Let it then be our prayer and 
daily endeavour that -cue maif love the 
Lord our God with all our heart, and our 
neighbour as ourselves. For this is the 
sum of the law, and the substance of the 
gospel. 

41 While the Pharisees were ga- 
thered together, Jesus asked them, 
42 Saying, What think ye of Christ? 
whose son is he ? They say unto 
him, The son of David. 43 He 
saith unto them. How then doth 
David in spirit call him Lord ? say- 
ing, 44 The Lord said unto my 
Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, 
till I make thine enemies thy foot- 
stool. .45 If David then call him 
Lord, how is he his son ? 46 And 
no man was able to answer him a 
word ; neither durst any ma7i, from 
that day forth, ask him any more 
questions. 

The Pharisees had often put forth several 
questions maliciously unto Christ, and 
now Christ puts forth one question inno- 
cently unto them; namely. What they 
thought of the Messiah whom they expect- 
ed ? They reply, that he was to be the 
Son of David, a secular prince descending 
from David, that should deliver them 
from the power of the Romans, and restore 
them to their civil rights. This was the 
notion they had of the Messiah, that he 
should be a man, the Son of David, and 
nothing more. Our Saviour replies. 
Whence is it then that David calls the 
Messiah Lord? Psal. ex. 1. The Lord 
said unto my Lord: how could he be both 
David's Lord and David's Son ? No son is 
lord to his father ; therefore if Christ were 
David's Sovereign, he must be more than 
man, more than David's son. As Man, so 
he was David's Son : as God-man, so he 
was David's Lord. Note hence, That 
although Christ was really and truly Man, 
yet he was more than a bare man : he was 
Lord unto,, and was the salvation of, his own 
forefathers. Note, 2. That the only way 
to reconcile the scriptures which speak 
concerning Christ, is to believe and ac- 
knowledge him to be God and Man in one 
person. The Messiah as a man was to 
come forth out of David's loins, but as 
I 



114 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. XXIII. 



God-maa he was David's Sovereign and 
Saviour. As Man, he was his father's Sou ; 
as God, he was Lord to his own father. 

CHAP. XXIII. 
'pHEN spake Jesus to the multi- 
* tude, and to his disciples, 2 
Sayinjr, The scribes and the Pharisees 
sit'in Moses' seat : 3 All, therefore, 
whatsoever they bid you observe, 
that observe and do ; but do not ye 
after their works : for they say, and 
do not. 

The scribes and Pharisees, so often men- 
tioned in the gospels, were the great doc- 
tors and spiritual guides amongst the Jews. 
Scribe is the name of an office ; Pharisee 
the name of a sect. They were both 
learned in the law and teachers of the law 
of Moses. Our blessed Saviour in the 
former part of this gospel held many con- 
ferences with these men, and used the most 
persuasive arguments to convince them both 
of their errors and wickedness. But their 
obstinacy and malice being such, that 
neither our Saviour's ministry nor miracles 
could convince them ; hereupon our Lord 
denounces in this chapter eight several 
woes against them. But first he charitably 
warns his disciples and the multitude 
against the pernicious practices of this sort 
of men, saying. The scribes and Pharisees 
sit in Moses" seat ; that is, they teach and 
expound the law of Moses, which they 
were wont to do sitting. Whatsoever ihey 
bid you observe, that observe and do. 
That is, " What they teach you consonant 
to the word of God, and agreeable to the 
writings of Moses and the prophets ; if they 
go not out of Moses' chair into their own 
unwritten traditions, follow their doctrine 
and obey their precepts. But do not after 
their works; follow not their example, 
take heed of their pride and hypocrisy, of 
their ambition and vain-glory. Obey their, 
doctrine wherein it is sound ; but follow 
not their example wherein it is corrupt." 
Learn, 1. That the personal miscarriages 
of ministers must by no means beget a 
disesteem of their office and ministry. 
Charity must teach us to distinguish betwixt 
Ihe calling and the crime. 2. That the 
infallible truths of God recommended to us 
by a vicious] teacher, ought to be enter- 
tained and obeyed by us without either 
scruple or prejudice. What (he Pharisees 
themselves, says Christ, bid you observe, 
that observe and do. 3. Tliat no people 



are obliged to follow their teachers' pattern 
and example any farther than it is agreeable 
to scripture-rule, and conformable to 
Christ's example : Do not after their 
ivorksj-aho say and do not. 

4 For they bind heavy burdens, 
and grievous to be borne, and lay 
them on men's shoulders ; but they 
themselves will not move them with 
one of their fingers. 

These heavy burdens which the Phari- 
sees laid upon the people's shoulders, were 
counsels and directions, rules and canons, 
austerities and severities, which the Phari- 
sees introduced, and imposed upon their 
hearers, but would not undergo the least 
part of those severities themselves. If we 
do not follow our own counsels, we must 
not think to oblige our people to follow 
them. No man ought to press upon others 
what he is unwilling to perform himself. 
It is very sinful to give that counsel to 
others which we refuse to take ourselves. 

5 But all their works they do for 
to be seen of men : they make broad 
their phylacteries, and enlarge the 
borders of their garments, 6 And 
love the uppermost rooms at feasts, 
and the chief seats in the syna- 
gogues, 7 And greetings in the 
markets, and to be called of men, 
Rabbi, Rabbi, 

In these words our blessed Saviour ad- 
monishes his disciples and the multitude to 
take heed of imitating the Pharisees in 
their ostentation and hypocrisy, in their 
ambition and vain-glory ; and he instances 
in three particulars wherein they expressed 
it; 1. All their works, says Christ, thei/ 
do to be seen of men. To do good works 
that men may see them, is a duty ; but to 
do all or any of our works to be seen of 
men, is hypocrisy. 2. They make broad 
their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders 
of their garments. These phylacteries 
were certain scrolls and labels of parch- 
ment, in which were written the ten com- 
mandments, and some sections of the law ; 
these they tied to their foreheads, and 
pinned upon their left sleeve, that the 
law of God might be continually before 
their eyes, and perpetually in their remem- 
brance. This ceremony they judged God 
prescribed them, T>eut. vi. 8. Thou shalt 
bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and 
Ihei/ shall be as frontlets between thine 



Chap. XXIII. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



115 



eyes. By enlarging the borders of their 
garments, our Saviour points at the fringes 
and blue ribbons which the Jews did wear 
upon their garments, in obedience to the 
command, Nu7nb. xv. 37, 38. As the 
threads in those fringes and ribbons close 
woven together did represent the connexion , 
complication, and inseparable conjunction, 
of God's commandments among them- 
selves 5 so the wearing of these fringes 
was to put them in mind of the laws' of 
God, that which way soever they turned 
their eyes, they might meet with some 
pious admonition to keep the law of God. 
Now the vain-glorious Pharisees, that they 
might be thought more mindful of the 
law of God than other men, did make 
their phylacteries broader, and their fringes 
thicker and longer, than other men. 3. 
They fondly affected, and ambitiously 
contended for, the first and uppermost 
seats in all conventions, as at feasts, and in 
the synagogues, and loved to be respectfully 
saluted in open and public places, and to 
have titles of honour, such as Babbi, Mas- 
ter, Father, and Doctor, put upon them. 
Now that which our Saviour condemns, 
is the Pharisees' fond affectation of these 
little things, and unduly seeking their own 
honour and glory. It was not their talking, 
but their lovi/ig the uppermost rooms at 
feasts, that Christ condemns. From the 
whole note, 1. That hypocrites are fond 
of affecting ceremonial observations, and 
outward parts of commanded duties, neg- 
lecting the substance of religion itself. 
These Pharisees were for carrying a library 
of God's law on their clothes, scarce a letter 
of it in their hearts. They wore the law 
of God, as frontlets before their eyes, but 
not engraven on the tables of their hearts. 
Observe, 2. That the nature of hypocrisy 
is to study more to seem religious in the 
sight of men, than to be religious indeed 
before God. The hypocrite is the worid's 
saint, and not God's ; he courts the world's 
acceptation more than the divine favour and 
approbation. 

8 But be not ye called Rabbi : 
for one is your Master, even Christ ; 
and all ye are brethren. 9 And 
call no man your Father upon the 
earth : for one is your Father, which 
is in heaven. 10 Neither be ye 
called masters : for one is voiir 
Master, even Christ. 11 But he 
that is greatest among you shall be 



your servant. 12 And whosoever 
shall exalt himself shall be abased ; 
and he that shall humble himselt 
shall be exalted. 

The word rabbi signifies a doctor or 
teacher, eminently endowed with variety 
of knowledge, whose place it was to sit in 
an exalted chair, or chief seat in the syna- 
gogue ; their disciples and scholars sat 
upon lower forms at the feet of their teach- 
ers. Our Saviour doth not simply condemn 
the giving or receiving of these titles of Rab- 
bi, Master, and Father ; but the things for- 
bidden are, 1. A vain-glorious affectation of 
such titles as these, the ambitious seeking of 
them, and glorying in them. 2. He con- 
demns that authority and dominion over the 
consciences of men which the Pharisaical 
doctors had usurped ; telling the people that 
they ought to believe all their doctrines, and 
practise all their injunctions, as the com- 
mands of the living God. They did in 
effect assume infallibility to themselves. 
Learn hence, 1. That there have been in 
all ages in the church a sort of teachers, 
who have usurped authority and dominion 
over the faith and consciences of men. 2. 
That christians ought not to submit their 
faith and consciences in matters of religion 
to any human authority whatsoever, nor 
to give up themselves absolutely to the 
conduct of any man's judgment or opinion 
in matters of faith. 3. That Christ alone, 
the great Prophet and infallible Teacher of 
his church, is the only person to whose 
doctrine and precepts we owe absolute 
faith and obedience : One is your Master, 
even Christ. 4. As God will abase, and 
men will despise, the proud, especially 
ministers who are such; so shall God 
exalt, and men will honour, them that 
stoop to the meanest services for the good 
of souls : Whoso exalteth himself shall be 
abased. This was a sentence often used 
by our Saviour, and was a frequent saying 
among the Jews. 

13 But woe unto you, scribes and 
Pharisees, hypocrites ! for ye shut 
up the kingdom of heaven against 
men : for ye neither go in yourselves, 
neither suffer ye them that are en- 
tering to go in. 

From the thirteenth verse to the thirtieth, 
the Pharisees have eight several woes de- 
nounced against them by our Saviour ; the 
first is, for perverting the scriptures, and 
keeping the true sense and knowledge of 
I 2 



IIG 



ST. iMATTHEW. 



Chap. XXIII. 



them from the people. This St. Matthew 
calls the shuttincr up of the kingdom of 
heaven against men. St. Luke calls it, a 
taking axvai/ the kei/ of knowledge from 
men, which is an allusion to a known 
custom among the Jews in admission of 
their doctors ; for those that had authority 
given them to interpret the law and the 
prophets, were solemnly admitted into 
that otiice, by delivering them a key and 
a table-book. So that by the key of 
knowledge, is meant the interpretation and 
understanding of the scriptures ; and by 
taking away the key of knowledge, is 
signified, first, that they arrogated to them- 
selves alone the understanding of the scrip- 
tures. Secondly, That they kept the true 
knowledge of the scriptures from the peo- 
ple, especially the prophecies which con- 
cerned the Messias : and so they hindered 
men from embracing our Saviour's doc- 
trine, who were otherwise well enough dis- 
posed for it. Learn hence, L That the 
knowledge of the holy scriptures is abso- 
lutely and indispensably necessary in order 
to salvation. This our Saviour calls the 
key, which lets men into the kingdom of 
heaven. Learn, 2. That great is the guilt, 
and inexcusable the fault, of those who de- 
prive the people of the knowledge of the 
scriptures. They shut the kingdom of 
heaven against men, and do what in them 
lies to hinder their eternal salvation. Men 
may miscarry with their knowledge, but 
they are sure to perish for want of know- 
ledge. 

14 Woe unto you, scribes and 
Pharisees, hypocrites ! for ye de- 
vour widows' houses, and for a pre- 
tence make long prayer : therefore 
ye shall receive the greater dam- 
nation. 

The second woe denounced against the 
Pharisees, is for their gross hypocrisy, in 
colouring over their covetousness with a 
pretence of religion ; making long pray- 
ers in the temple and synagogues for wi- 
dows, and thereupon persuading them to 
give bountifully to the Corban, or the com- 
mon treasury of the temple, some part of 
which was employed for their maintenance. 
Learn, 1. It is no new thing for designing 
hypocrites to cover the foulest transgres- 
sions with the cloak of religion. The Pha- 
risees mside long prayers a cover for their 
covetousness. 2. That to make use of re- 
ligion in policy for worldly advantage 



sake, is the way to be damned with a ven- 
geance for rehgion sake. Woe unto you, 
scribes, Sfc. 

15 Woe unto you, scribes and 
Pharisees, hypocrites ! fon ye com- 
pass sea and land to make one 
proselyte ; and when he is made, 
ye make him twofold more the child 
of hell than yourselves. 

The next woe denounced is for their 
false-ended zeal and earnestness in prose- 
lyting heathens to the Jewish religion ; 
not with a pious intention to save them, 
but to serve themselves upon them, to have 
their consciences and purses under their 
power. And when you have poisoned 
them, says our Saviour, by your corrupt 
doctrine, and hardened them in a course 
of sin by your wicked example, they are 
more the children of hell than before you 
practised upon theni. Learn, L Great is 
the diligence and indefatigable the industry 
which false teachers use in gaining prose- 
lytes to their opinion and party ; they 
cojnpass sea and land to make one prose- 
lyte. 2. That such as are proselyted to 
error, are oft-times faster rivetted in their 
false opinions than their teachers them- 
selves : they are made two-fold more the 
children of hell than yourselves. 

16 Woe unto you, ye blind guides ! 
which say. Whosoever shall swear 
by the temple, it is nothing : but 
whosoever shall swear by the gold 
of the temple, he is a debtor. 17 
Yc fools and blind ! for whether 
is greater, the gold or the temple 
that sanctifieth the gold ? 18 And, 
Whosoever shall swear by the altar, 
it is nothing ; but whosoever swear- 
eth by the gift that is upon it, he 
is guilty. 12 Ye fools, and blind ! 
for whether is greater, the gift, or 
the altar that sanctifieth the gift ? 
20 Whoso, therefore, shall swear by 
the altar, sweareth by it, and by 
all things thereon. 21 And whoso 
shall swear by the temple, sweareth 
by it, and by him that dwelleth 
therein. 22 And he that shall 
swear by heaven, sweareth by the 
throne of God, and by him that 
sitteth thereon. 

The fourth woe which our Saviour de- 



Chap. XXIII. 

nounceth against the Pharisees, is for their 
false and erroneous doctrine concerning 
oaths. 1. They taught men to swear by 
the creatures. 2. They taught that some 
oaths made by the creatures were obliga- 
tory and binding, others not : particularly 
they affirm, that if a man swear by the 
temple, or the altar, it is nothing ; that 
i'5, he was not bound by such an oath : but 
if a ?nan swear by the gold of the temple 
and the altar ; that is, by the gifts oii'ered 
to the Corban, or treasury of the temple, 
and by the sacrifices and oblations on the 
altar ; such an oath they affirmed was 
binding, because it was for their profit that 
the gifts on the altar, and the gold brought 
into the treasury, should be accounted 
most holy, seeing that would encourage 
the people to be more ready to contribute 
and offer. This horrid hypocrisy and 
covetousness our blessed Saviour here 
sharply reproves, and shows that oaths 
made by the creatures, though unlawful, 
yet being once made, did oblige, as if the 
parties had sworn by God himself. For 
he that swears by the temple, swears by it 
and him that dwelleth therein. Learn, 1. 
That swearing by the creatures is no new 
sin, but as old as the Pharisees. 2. That 
swearing by the creatures is a great pro- 
fanation of the name of God, and a mighty 
provocation to him. 3. That this notwith- 
standing, if the matter of such oaths be 
not sinful, they are obligatory and bind- 
ing. He that sweareth by the creatures, 
sweareth indeed by the God of the crea- 
tures : For, says our Saviour, he that 
sweareth by the heavens, sweareth by 
the throne ofGod,and by him that sitteth 
thereon. 

23 Woe unto you, scribes and 
Pharisees, hypocrites ! for ye pay 
tithe of mint, and anise, and cum- 
min, and have omitted the weightier 
matters o^ i\iG law, judgment, mercy, 
and faith : these ought ye to have 
done, and not to leave the other 
undone. 24 Fe blind guides ! which 
strain at a gnat, and swallow a 
camel. 

The next woe denounced is for the Pha- 
risees' ostentation of a precise keeping of 
the law in smaller matters, and neglecting 
weightier duties : They paid tithe of mint, 
anise, and cummin ; taut at the same time 
omitted judgment, mercy, and faith; that 
is, just dealing with men, charity towards 



ST. MATTHEW. 



117 



the poor, and faithfulness in their promises 
and covenants one with another. This, 
says our Saviour, is to strain at a gnat, 
and swallow a camel. A proverbial ex- 
pression, intimating, that some persons pre- 
tend great niceness and scrupulosity about 
small matters, and none, or but little, about 
duties of the greatest moment. Hence 
note, 1. That hypocrites lay the greatest 
stress upon the least matters in religion, 
and place holiness most in those things 
where God places it least. I'e tithe mint, 
Sfc. but neglect the weightier matters oj 
the law. This is indeed the bane of all re- 
ligion and true piety, to prefer ritual and 
human institutions before divine commands, 
and the practice of natural religion. Thus 
to do is a certain sign of gross hypocrisy. 
Observe, 2. That although some duties are 
of greater moment than others, yet a good 
man will omit none, but perform every 
duty, the least as well as the greatest, in 
obedience to the command of God. These 
things ought ye to have done, and not to 
leave the other undone. 

25 Woe unto you, scribes and 
Pharisees, hypocrites ! for ye make 
clean the outside of the cup and of 
the platter, but within they are full 
of extortion and excess. 26 Thou 
blind Pharisee ! cleanse first that 
ivhich is within the cup and platter, 
that the outside of them may be 
clean also. 

Our Saviour doth rot here condemn 
their legal or traditional washing of pots 
or cups, or any external decency and 
cleanliness in conversation ; but his de- 
sign is to show them the vanity of out- 
ward purity, without inward sanctity, and 
to convince them of the necessity of cleans- 
ing the heart, in order to the purifying and 
reforming the life : plainly intimating, 1 . 
That men's lives could not be so bad, if 
their hearts were not worse, all the ob- 
liquity of their lives proceeding from the 
impurity of their hearts and natures. 2. 
That an holy heart will be accompanied 
with an holy life. A man may be out- 
wardly pure, and yet inwardly filthy ; 
but he that has a pure heart will live a 
pure and holy life. Cleanse that which is 
within the cup, that the outside may be 
clean also. 

27 Woe unto you, scribes and 
Pharisees, hypocrites ! for ye are 



118 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. XXIII. 



like unto whited sepulchres, which 
indeed appear beautiful outward, 
but are within full of dead meii's 
bones, and of all uncleauness. 28 
Even so ye also outwardly appear 
righteous unto men, but within ye 
are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. 

Here we have a woe denounced against 
the Pharisees for cheating and deceiving 
the people with an outward show, an 
external appearance, of piety and religion : 
their lives were seemingly very religious, 
but their hearts were full of hypocrisy and 
all impurity, like sepulchres painted with- 
out, and full of rottenness within. Whence 
learn. That the great design of hypocrisy 
is to cheat the world with a vain and 
empty show of piety. The ambition of 
the hypocrite is to be thought good, not 
to be so j he is the world's saint, not 
God's. 

29 Woe unto you, scribes and 
Pharisees, hypocrites ! because ye 
build the tombs of the prophets, and 
garnish the sepulchres of the right- 
eous, 30 And say. If we had been 
in the days of our fathers, we would 
not have been partakers with them 
in the blood of the prophets. 31 
Wherefore ye be witnesses unto 
yourselves, that ye are the children 
of them which killed the prophets. 
32 Fill ye up then the measure of 
your fathers. 33 Ye serpents, ye 
generation of vipers ! how can ye 
escape the damnation of hell? 

This is the eighth woe denounced by our 
blessed Saviour against the Pharisees for 
their grand hypocrisy, in pretending great 
honour to the saints departed, building 
their tombs, and garnishing their sepul- 
chres, and declaring against their fathers' 
impiety, That had they lived in their days, 
they would not have been partakers -with 
them in the blood of the prophets. Now 
their hypocrisy appeared in three parti- 
culars. 1. In that they continued in their 
own wickedness, and yet recommended 
the saints departed; they magnify the 
saints, but multiply their sins, and instead 
of imitating their virtues, they content 
themselves with garnishing their sepulchres. 
2. In professing great respect to the dead 
saints, and at the same time persecuting 
the living. Palpable hypocrisy ! And 



yet as gross as it is, it prevails to this day. 
The church of Rome, who magnify mar- 
tyrs, and canonize saints departed, have 
yet added to their numbers by shedding 
their blood. 3, In taking false measures 
of their love to the saints departed, from 
their building their tombs, and garnishing 
their sepulchres ; whereas the best evidence 
of our love unto them, is the imitating 
their virtues, and cherishing their followers. 
It is gross hypocrisy to pay respect to the 
relics of saints, and veneration to their 
images ; and at the same time to persecute 
and atftict their followers. Learn hence, 

1. That the world has all along loved the 
dead saints better than living ones. Mortui 
von mordent. The dead saints' example, 
how bright soever, is not so scorching and 
troublesome at a distance ; and he himself 
no longer stands in other men's light; 
whereas the living saints' example is a 
cutting reproof to sin and vice. Observe, 

2. That there is a certain civility in, human 
nature, which leads men to a just com- 
mendation of the dead, and to a due 
estimation of their worth. The Pharisees 
here, though they persecuted the prophets 
whilst alive, yet had they a mighty vene- 
ration for theii' piety and virtue after they 
were dead, and thought no honour too 
great to be done unto them. Note, 3. 
That it is the grossest hypocrisy to pretend 
to love goodness, and yet hate and per- 
secute good men. These hypocritical 
Pharisees pretended highly to piety and 
religion, and at the same time killed the 
prophets, and stoned them that were sent 
unto them. 4. That the highest honour 
we can pay to the saints departed, is not 
by raising monuments and building tombs 
to their memory ; but by a careful imita- 
tion of their piety and virtue, following 
the holiness of their lives, and their pa- 
tience and constancy at their deaths. 

34 Wherefore, behold, I send 
tinto you prophets, and wise men, 
and scribes : and some of them ye 
shall kill and crucify ; and some of 
them shall ye scourge in your syna- 
gogues, and persecute them from 
city to city : 35 That upon you may 
come all the righteous blood shed 
upon the earth, from the blood of 
righteous Abel unto the blood of 
Zacharias, son of Barachias, whom 
ye slew between the temple and the 
altar. 36 Verily I say unto you. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. XXllI. 

All these things shall come upon 
this generation. 

Observe here, A prophetical predic- 
tion, and a severe denunciation. 1. A 
prediction foretelling what cruel usage the 
apostles should meet with from the Jews, 
killing and crucifying some, scourging and 
stoning others 5 which accordingly was 
fulfilled in the crucifying of St. Peter, the 
scourging of St. Paul, in the stoning of St. 
Stephen, and killing of St. James. The 
first planters and propagators of the gospel 
sealed their doctrine with their blood, and 
the blood of the martyrs has all along 
been the seed of the church. Observe, 2. 
A severe denunciation, that upon you 7)201/ 
come all the righteous blood shed upon 
the earth, from Abel to Zacharias, the son 
of Jehoiada, 2 Chron. xxiv. 20. who was 
the last prophet whose murder is related 
by name in the Old Testament. These 
words are not to be understood as if the 
end and intent of Christ's sending the 
prophets were that the Jews might put 
them to death, and bring their righteous 
blood upon themselves. This was the 
consequence and event indeed of their 
sending, but by no means the design and 
intent of it. Learn, 1. That raging per- 
secutors have no regard either to the extra- 
ordinary mission or eminent sanctity of 
persons who reprove them for their sins. 
I send unto you prophets, says our Saviour, 
wise men, and scribes, and some of them 
ye shall kill and crucifi/. 2. That as 
the piety of the persons, so neither can the 
sanctity of the place, discourage and deter 
bloody persecutors from their rage and fury 
against the prophets of God. In the tem- 
ple itself, in the court of the house of the 
Lord, even between the porch and the 
altar, was Zacharias slain. That it is a 
righteous thing with God to punish the 
children for the impieties of their parents ; 
this is to be understood, L Where the chil- 
dren tread in their fathers' steps, and con- 
tinue in their parents' sins; which they 
do, if they do not confess them, abhor 
them, and be humbled for them. 2. This 
is to be understood of temporal evils, not 
of eternal punishments. No man shall 
fer his fathers' sins lie down in everlasting 
burnings. As our fathers' faith will not 
let us into heaven, so neither will their 
impiety shut us into hell. At the day of 
judgment every man shall be separately 
considered, according to his deeds. 

37 O .Ternsalcm, Jerusalem, thou 



119 



that killest the prophets, and stonest 
them which are sent unto thee, how 
often would I have gathered thy 
children together, even as a hen 
gathereth her chickens under her 
wings, and ye would not ! 38 Be- 
hold, your house is left unto you 
desolate. 39 For I say unto you. 
Ye shall not see me henceforth, till 
ye shall say, Blessed is he that 
cometh in the name of the Lord. 

Our Lord concludes this chapter with 
a pathetical lamentation over Jerusalem. 
His ingemination or doubling of the word, 
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, shows the vehe- 
mency of Christ's atfection towards them, 
and the sincerity of his desires for their 
salvation. Observe, L The great kind- 
ness and compassion of Christ to the Jews 
in general, and Jerusalem in particular, 
set forth by a lively metaphor and simili- 
tude ; that of an hen gathering her 
chickens under her wings. As the hen 
doth tenderly cherish, and carefully hide 
and cover her young from the eye of the 
destroyer ; so would Christ have shrouded 
and sheltered his people from all those 
birds of prey, and particularly from the 
Roman eagle, by which they were at last 
devoured. Again, as the hen continueth 
her call to her young ones from morning 
to night, and "holds out her wings for 
shelter to them all the day long ; so did 
Christ wait for this people's repentance 
and conversion for more than forty years 
after they had killed his prophets, and 
murdered himself, before they met with a 
final overthrow. Observe, 2. The amaz- 
ing obstinacy and wilfulness of this peo- 
ple, in rejecting this grace and favour, this 
kindness and condescension of the Lord 
Jesus Christ : J would have gathered you, 
but ye would not. Observe, 3. The fatal 
issue of this obstinacy. Behold, your house 
is left unto you desolate. Is left ; that 
is, certainly and suddenly will be so. The 
present tense put for the paulo post futu- 
rum, it denotes both the certainty and 
nearness of this people's ruin. Learn, 1. 
That the ruin and destruction of sinners 
is wholly chargeable upon themselves ; 
that is, on their own wilfulness and obsti- 
nacy : 1 would have gathered you, says 
Christ, but ye would not. Learn", 2. How 
deplorably "and inexcusablv they will pe- 
rish, who' perish by their own wilfulness 
under the gospel. "3. That there is no de- 



120 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. XXIV. 



sire like unto God's desire of a people's 
repentance ; no longing like unto God's 
longing for a people's salvation : O Jeru- 
salem, Jerusalem, how often xvould I have 
gathered thee ! When shall it once be! 
Christ did very seriously desire the conver- 
sion of the Jews, who continued still in 
their impenitency and unbelief. And con- 
sequently they whom he so seriously de- 
sired to convert, might have been convert- 
ed, but they would not be so : I would 
have gathered you, but ye would not. 

CHAP. XXIV. 
A ND Jesus went out, and depart- 
ed from the temple : and his 
disciples came to him, for to shew 
him the buildings of the temple. 2 
And Jesiis said unto them. See ye 
not all these things ? Verily I say 
unto you, There shall not be left here 
one stone upon another, that shall 
not be thrown down. 

Our blessed Saviour had often acquaint- 
ed his disciples with his approaching death 
at Jerusalem. The Son of man must go 
up to Jerusalem to be crucified. Now in 
this chapter he acquaints them with the 
destruction that should come upon Jeru- 
salem in general, and upon the temple in 
particular, for their putting him, the Son 
of God, to death. The disciples, looking 
upon the temple with wonder and admira- 
tion, were apt to think that the temple, 
in regard of its invincible strength, could 
not be destroyed ; or, at the least, in re- 
gard of its incredible magnificence, it was 
great pity it should be destroyed ; and 
accordingly they say to Christ, See what 
goodly buildings are here. As if they 
liad said, Master, what great pity it is, 
that such a magnificent stracture should 
become a ruinous heap ! But hence we 
learn, 1. That sin brings cities and king- 
doms, as well as particular and private 
persons, to their end. There are no 
places so strong, but an Almighty God 
is able to destroy them, and sin is sufficient 
to lay them waste. Observe, 2. That the 
threatenings of God are to be feared, and 
shall be fulfilled, whatever appearing im- 
probabilities there may be to the contrary. 
God had threatened Jerusalem with de- 
struction for her sin, and now it is not all 
her strength that can oppose his power. 
Learn, 3. That notwithstanding magni- 
ficence and worldly glory doth mightily 
dazzle our eye, yet how little doth it affect 



Christ's heart. Even the temple itself> 
that most magnificent structure, Christ va- 
lues no more than an heap of rubbish, 
when the impiety of the worshippers had 
devoted it to destruction. Not one stone, 
says Christ, shall be left upon another un- 
thrown down. This threatening was ful- 
filled forty years after Christ's death, when 
Titus the Roman emperor destroyed the 
city and burnt the temple, and Tumus 
Rufus, the general of his army, plowed 
up the very foundation upon which the 
temple stood. Thus was the threatening 
of God fulfilled, Jer. xxvi. 18. Zion shall 
be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall 
become heaps. The truth and veracity, 
the faithfulness and fidelity of God, is as 
much concerned in the execution of his 
threatenings, as in the performance of his 
promises. 

3 And as he sat upon the mount 
of Olives, the disciples came unto 
him privately, saying. Tell us, when 
shall these things be ? and what 
shall be the sign of thy coming, and 
of the end of the world ? 4 And 
Jesus answered and said unto them. 
Take heed that no man deceive you. 
5 For many shall come in my name, 
saying, I am Christ ; and shall 
deceive many. 

A double question is here propounded 
by the disciples to our Saviour. First, 
As to the time of the temple's destruction. 
Secondly, Asto the signs of that destruction. 
As to the former, the time when the tem- 
ple should be destroyed. See the curiosity 
of human nature, both in desiring to know 
what should be hereafter, and also when 
that hereafter should be. Thence learn. 
That there is found with all of us an itch- 
ing curiosity and desire, rather to inquire 
and pry into the hidden counsels of God's 
secret will, than to obey the manifest de- 
clarations of God's revealed will : Tell us 
7vhen these things shall be. As to their 
second question, What should be the sign 
of his coming ; our Saviour acquaints 
them with this among many others. Thai 
there should arise false Christs, false 
prophets, and seducers, a multitude of im- 
postors, that would draw many after them ; 
therefore he bids them take heed and be- 
ware. Where observe. That Christ doth not 
gratify his disciples' curiosity, but acquaints 
them with their present duty, to watch 
against deceivers and seducers, who should 



Chap. XXIV. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



121 



have the impudence to affirm themselves to 
be Christ. Some, Christ personal, or the 
Messiah ; others Christ doctrinal, affirming 
their erroneous opinions to be Christ's mind 
and doctrme. From the whole, note, 1. 
That there M;ill be many seducers, many 
erroneous persons, and false opinions, be- 
fore the end of the world ; for Jerusalem's 
destruction was a type and emblem of the 
world's destruction. 2. That such se- 
ducers will come in Christ's name, and 
their errors and false opinions shall be given 
out to be the mind of Christ. 3. That 
many will be seduced and carried away 
with their fair pretences and plausible de- 
ceits. 4. That Clirist's own disciples had 
need to take heed, lest they themselves, 
being led atvay by the error of the wick- 
ed, do fall from their oxsn stedfastness. 
Take heed that no man deceive you ; 
for many •will come in iny name, saying, 
I am Christ, and shall deceive mam/. 

6 And ye shall hear of wars, and 
rumours of wars : see that ye be 
not troubled : for all these things 
must come to pass, but the end is 
not yet. 7 For nation shall rise 
against nation, and kingdom against 
kingdom : and there shall be fa- 
mines, and pestilences, and earth- 
quakes, in divers places. 8 All 
these are the beginning of sorrows. 

The next sign which our Saviour gives 
his disciples of Jerusalem's destruction, 
is the many broils and commotions, civil 
discords and dissensions, that should be 
found amongst the Jews : famines, pesti- 
lences, and earthquakes, fearful sights and 
signs in the air. And Josephus declares, 
that there appeared in the air chariots and 
horses, men skirmishing in the clouds, and 
encompassing the city ; and that a blazing 
star, in fashion of a sword, hung over the 
city for a year together. Learn, 1. That 
war, pestilence, and famine, are judgments 
and calamities inflicted by God upon a sin- 
ful people for their contempt of Christ and 
gospel-grace. Ye shall hear .of wars, fa- 
mine, and pestilence. 2. That although 
these be mighty and terrible judgments, 
yet are they the forerunners of worse juc'g- 
inents. All these are the beginning of 
sorrows. 

9 Then shall they deliver you up 
to be afflicted, amf shall kill you : 
and ye shall be hated of all nations 
for my name's sake. 10 And then 



shall many be offended, and shal't 
betray one another, and shall hate, 
one another. 1 1 And many false 
prophets shall rise, and shall de- 
ceive many, 12 And because ini- 
quity shall abound, the love of 
many shall wax cold. 13 But he 
that shall endure unto the end, 
the same shall be saved. 

Our Saviour here goes on in giving far- 
ther signs of the destruction of Jerusalem. 
1. He declares the sharp persecutions which 
should fall upon the apostles themselves ; 
They shall kill you. Thence learn, That 
the keenest and sharpest edge of persecu- 
tion is usually turned against the ambas- 
sadors of Christ, and falls heaviest on the 
ministers of God. You shall be hated 
and killed. The next sign is the apostasy 
of professors upon the account of those 
persecutions : Then shall many be offend- 
ed, and shall betray one another, and 
hate one another. Learn hence, that times 
of persecution for Christianity are constant- 
ly times of apostasy from the christian pro- 
fession. 2. That apostates are usually 
the bitterest persecutors ; Omnis apostata 
est osor sui ordinis. They shall betray 
one another, and hate one another. A 
third sign is the abounding of false teach- 
ers : Many false prophets shall arise, and 
shall deceive many. Where note, That 
the fair pretences and subtle practices of 
heretical teachers have drawn off many 
from the truth, whom open persecution 
cou.ld not drive from it. A fourth sign is 
the decay and abatement of zeal for God, 
and love one to another: The love of 
many shall wax cold, that is, both towards 
God and towards man. When iniquity 
abounds, trouble waxes hot ; and when 
trouble waxes hot, false love waxes cold, 
and true love waxes warmer than it was 
before ; the cold blasts of persecution blow 
up the love of a few, but blow out the love 
of many more. These are the signs laid 
down by our Saviour foretelling the destruc- 
tion of Jerusalem : and forasmuch as Je- 
rusalem's destruction was not only a fore- 
runner, but a figure of Christ's coming to 
judgment, these are also the signs fore- 
telling the approach of that dreadful day. 
Verse 13. He that endureth to the end, 
the same shall be saved. Our Saviour 
closes his discourse with an exhortation 
to constancy and perseverance : teaching 
us. That there is no such way to overcome 
temptation and persecution, as by keeping 



122 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. XXIV. 



our integrity, and persevering in our fide- 
lity to Christ. 2. That constancy and 
perseverance in our integrity and fidehty 
towards Christ, is sometimes attended with 
temporal salvation and deliverance in 
this life, but shall certainly be rewarded 
with eternal salvation in the next : He 
that endureth unto the end, the same 
shall be saved. 

14 And this gospel of the king- 
dom shall be preached in all the 
world, for a witness unto all nations; 
and then shall the end come. 

Here our blessed Saviour comforts his 
disciples with a threefold consideration. 1. 
That his gospel, how hated and per- 
secuted soever, should be plainly and 
persuasively preached: The gospel of the 
kingdom shall be preached. Therefore 
called the gospel of the kingdom, because 
it discovers the way to the kingdom of 
heaven. Observe, 2. The extent of the 
gospel's publication. It shall be preached 
unto all nations, that is, to the Gentile 
world ; not only among the Jews, but 
among the chief and principal nations of 
the Gentiles. Observe, 3. The design 
and end of the gospel's publication, and 
that is, for a witness or testimony ; name- 
ly, for a witness of God's grace and mercy 
offered to sinners, and of their obstinacy 
who reject it. Learn thence. That the 
preaching of the gospel, wherever it comes, 
proves a testimony to them to whom it 
comes. To the humble and teachable, it 
is a testimony for, to the scorners and 
despisers, it is a testimony against ; or in 
the words of the apostle, 2 Cor. ii. 16, To 
some it is tlie savour of death unto death ; 
to others, the savour of life unto life. 

15 When ye, therefore, shall see 
the abomination of desolation, spo- 
ken of by Daniel the prophet, stand 
in the holy place, (whoso readeth, 
let him understand,) 

The sense is, " When ye shall see the 
armies of the Romans, who are an abomi- 
nation unto you, and an occasion of great 
desolation where they go ; when you 
shall see that abominable, dissolute army 
begirting the holy city of Jerusalem, then 
call to mind the prophecy of Daniel, 
which primarily belonged to Antiochus, 
but secondarily to Titus, and shall now be 
fully completed : for the siege shall not 
be raised till both city and temple be razed 



to the ground." Learn thence. That God 
has instruments ready at his call to lay 
waste the strongest cities, and to ruin the 
most flourishing kingdoms which do op- 
pose the tenders of his grace, and can 
make those whom most men abhor, to be 
the occasions of their destruction. 

16 Then let them which be in 
Judea flee into the mountains : 17 
Let him which is on the house-top 
not come down to take any thing- 
out of his house : 18 Neither let 
him which is in the field return back 
to take his clothes. 

The meaning is, " As soon as you shall 
see the Roman army appear before the city 
of Jerusalem, let every one that values his 
own safety, fly as far and as fast as he 
can, even as Lot fled out of Sodom ; and 
let such as fly be glad if by flight they can 
save their lives, though they lose their 
goods, their clothes, and all things beside." 
From hence learn, L That when Almigh- 
ty God is pouring forth his fury upon a 
sinful people, it is lawful, yea a necessary 
duty, by flight to endeavour the hiding 
and sheltering themselves from the ap- 
proaching calamity and desolation : When 
ye shall see Jerusale?n encompassed "with 
armies, then flee to the mountains. 2. 
That in the case of flight before a bloody 
enemy and army, if we lose all that we have, 
and our lives be given us, we fare well, 
and the Lord deals very mercifully with us. 

19 And woe unto them that are 
with child, and to them that give 
suck, in those days ! 20 But pray 
ye that your flight be not in the 
winter, neither on the sabbath-day. 

Here our Saviour declares the doleful 
distress of those that could not flee from 
the siege of Jerusalem ; as women big 
with child, and such as give suck, who by 
that means are like to lose their lives. 
And he farther adds, that it should increase 
the calamity, if their flight should happen 
to be in the winter, when none can fly 
either fast or far ; or if they should be 
forced to flee on the sabbath-dai/, when 
the Jews scrupled travelling farther than 
a sabbath-day's journey, which was about 
two miles. From thence learn. That it 
is a great addition to the trouble and dis- 
quiet of a good man's spirit, when the 
day of his spiritual rest is interrupted, and 
instead of enjoying communion with God 



Chap. XXIV. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



123 



in his house, he is driven from house and 
home, and flees before the face of an 
enraged enemy. Prai/ ye, says our Sa- 
viour, that your jlight he not on the sab- 
bath-day ; "that being a day of holy rest. 

21 For then shall be great tribu- 
lation, such as was not since the 
beginning of the world to this time, 
no, nor ever shall be. 22 And ex- 
cept those days should be shorten- 
ed, there should no flesh be saved : 
but for the elect's sake those days 
shall be shortened. 

The doleful miseries and dreadful ca- 
lamities which were coming upon the Jews 
in general, and upon Jerusalem in parti- 
cular, are here foretold by our Saviour, 
partly from the Roman army without, 
and partly from the seditions and factions 
of the zealots within, who committed such 
outrages and slaughters, that there were 
no less than an hundred thousand slain, 
and ninety-seven thousand carried away 
captive, and made prisoners. They that 
bought our Saviour for thirty pence, were 
now themselves sold thirty for a penny. 
Now did the temple itself become a sa- 
crifice, a whole burnt-otfering, and was 
consumed to ashes. Yet observe, Christ 
promises that these calamitous days shall 
be shortened for the elect's sake. God 
had a remnant, which he determined 
should survive this destruction, to be an 
holy seed ; and accordingly the providence 
of God so ordered, that the city was taken 
in six months, and the whole country 
depopulated in eighteen. Whence ob- 
serve. How the Lord intermixes some 
mercy with the extremest misery that doth 
befall a people for their sin. On this side 
hell, no sinners can say that they feel the 
strokes of j ustice to the utmost, or that 
ihey have judgment without mercy. 

23 Then if any man shall say 
unto YOU, Lo, here is Clirist, or 
there ; believe it not. 24 For there 
shall arise false Chrisls, and false 
prophets, and shall shew great 
signs and wonders ; insomuch that, 
if it xcere possible, they shall de- 
ceive the very elect. 25 Behold, 
I have told you before. 26 Where- 
fore if they shall say unto jon, 
Behold, he is in the desert ; go not 



forth : behold, he is in the secret 
chambers ; believe it not. 

The Jews had all along cherished in 
themselves a vain expectation, that the 
promised Messiah shoula be a temporal 
deliverer, that should set them at liberty 
from the power and slavery of the Ro- 
mans ; and accordingly Christ declares to 
his disciples here, that immediately betbre 
Jerusalem's destruction, several persons, 
taking the advantage of this expectation, 
would make themselves heads of parties, 
and pretend that they were the true Mes- 
siah, who would save and deliver them 
from their enemies, if they would repair 
to them, and follow after them. Hereupon 
our Lord cautions his disciples against such 
false Christs and false prophets, and bids 
them believe them not, though they did 
never so many great signs and wonders, 
and promised them never such glorious 
deliverances. Learn hence. That the 
church's great danger is from seducers 
that come in Christ's name, and pretend 
to work signs and wonders by his au- 
thority. 2. That such is the power of 
seduction and delusion, that many are 
carried away with seducers aud false teach- 
ers. 3. That the elect themselves, if left 
unto themselves, might be seduced ; but 
divine power guards them against seduc- 
tion and delusion : They shall deceive, 
if it were possible, the very elect. Which 
phrase imports not what the event would 
be upon the elect, but the vehemency 
of the endeavours of seducers ; namely, 
that they would do the utmost that they 
could, to shock the christian, and cause 
him to fall upon his stedfastness. 

27 For as the lightning cometli 
out of the east, and shineth even 
unto the west ; so shall also the 
coming of the Son of man be. 

There is a threefold coming of Christ 
spoken of in the New Testament. L His 
coming in his spiritual kingdom by the 
preaching of the gospel among the Gen- 
tiles. 2. His coming to destroy Jerusalem 
forty years after his ascension. 3. His 
final coming to judgment at the great day. 
All these comings of the Son of man, for 
their suddenness and unexpectedness, are 
compared unto lightning, which in a 
moment breaketh out of the east, and 
shineth imto the west. Learn hence, Tha 
the coming and appearance of the Lord 
Jesus Christ, to the judging of (he wicked 



124 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. XXIV. 



and impenitent sinners, will be a very 
certain, sudden, and unexpected appear- 
ance. 

28 For wheresoever the carcase 
is, there will the eagles be gathered 
together. 

If the coming of Christ be understood 
in the former verse of his coming to destroy 
Jerusalem, then by (he carcass in this verse 
are to be understood the people of Jerusa- 
lem, and the body of the Jewish nation ; 
and by eagles are to be understood the Ro- 
man armies, who carried an eagle in their 
standard. These were the instruments 
which Almighty God made use of, as 
his rod and scourge, to chastise and punish 
the people of Jerusalem. Learn thence. 
That the appointed messengers of God's 
wrath, and the instruments of his ven- 
geance, will certainly gather together, cer- 
tainly find out, and severely punish and 
plague, an impenitent people devoted -to 
destruction. W/iere the carcass is (the 
body of the Jewish nation) there will the 
eagles (the Roman soldiers) be gathered 
together. 

29 Immediately after the tri- 
bulation of those days shall the sun 
be darkened, and the moon shall 
not give her light, and the stars 
shall fall from heaven, and the pow- 
ers of the heavens shall be shaken : 
30 And then shall appear the sign 
of the Son o* man in heaven : 

Our Saviour goes on in figurative ex- 
pressions to set forth the calamities that 
should befall the Jewish nation, immediately 
• after the destruction of Jerusalem : The sun 
shall be darkened : that is, all their glory 
and excellency shall be eclipsed, all their 
wealth and prosperity shall be laid waste ; 
the whole government, civil and ecclesi- 
astical, destroyed ; and such marks of mi- 
sery found upon them, as never were seen 
upon a people. Ri/ the sign of the So7i 
of man, the papists will have understood 
the sign of the cross. Others understand 
it of those prodigies which were seen a little 
before the destruction of Jerusalem, which 
Josephus mentions ; as, namely, a comet 
in the form of a sword hanging over the 
city for a year together ; a light in the 
temple and about the altar, seen at mid- 
night for half an hour ; a cow, led by the 
priest to be sacrificed, calved a lamb ; a 
voice heard in the temple, .saying, Abca- 



nius hinc, " Let us go hence." Learn 
hence, God premonishes before he punishes; 
he warns a people of destruction often, be- 
fore he destroys them once. 

— And then shall all the tribes 
of the earth mourn, and they shall 
see the Son of man coming in the 
clouds of heaven with power and 
great glory. 31 And he shall send 
his angels with a great sound of a 
trumpet ; and they shall gather to- 
gether his elect from the four winds, 
from one end of heaven to the other. 

Then shall the tribes mourn ; that is, 
then shall the Jews be convinced that their 
destruction was the punishment of their sin, 
in rejecting and crucifying Christ ; and ac- 
cordmgly they that pierced him shall be- 
hold him, and mourn over liim. Thus it 
was before the destruction of Jerusalem, 
and thus will it be before the final judg- 
ment. They that pierced him shall be 
brought before him. Lord, how will the 
sight of a pierced Christ pierce their souls 
with horror! they who have not seen a 
pierced Christ in the sorrows of repentance, 
shall hereafter see him in the sorrows of 
despair. To behold Christ with the eye 
of sense hereafter, will be very dreadful 
and terrible to all those that have not 
beheld him with the eye of faith here. 
And he shall send his angels with the 
sound of a trumpet. Those that apply 
this to the destruction of Jerusalem, by the 
angels understand the ministers of the 
gospel, who by the trumpet of the word 
did bring in believers throughout all Judea, 
who were saved from that destruction. 
Those that understand it of the general 
judgment, take it literally, that Christ at the 
great day will send forth his holy angels, 
and gather all his elect to himself with the 
sound of a trumpet. Probably, as there 
was an audible sound of a trumpet at the 
giving of the law, so there shall be the like 
sound of a trumpet, when Christ shall 
summon the world to judgment, for trans- 
gressing of that law. A joyful sound will 
this be to the friends of Christ, a doleful, 
dreadful sound in the ears cf his enemies. 

32 Now learn a parable of the 
fig-tree : When his branch is yet 
tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye 
know that summer is nigh : 33 
So likewise ye, when ye shall see 
all these things, know that it is near, 



Chap. XXIV. 

even at the doors. 34 Verily I 
say unto you, This generation shall 
not pass till all these things he 
fulfilled. 35 Heaven and earth 
shall pass away, but my words shall 
not pass away. 36 But of that 
day and hour knoweth no man, no, 
not the angels of heaven, but my 
Father only. 

Here our blessed Saviour declares two 
things with reference to his coming. 1. 
The certainty of the thing itself. 2. The 
uncertainty of the time. The certainty 
of his coming he sets forth by the simili- 
tude of the Jig-tree, whose beginning to 
bud declares the summer at hand. Thus 
when they should see the fore-mentioned 
signs, they might conclude the destruction 
of their city and temple to be 7iigh at hand, 
and that some then living should see all 
these predictions certainly fulfilled. What 
Christ foretells, shall certainly be fulfilled, 
his word being more firm than the fabric 
of heaven and earth. Observe, 2. The 
uncertainty, as to the precise time, when 
this judgment should come. No angel 
in heaven nor creature on earth could 
determine the time, only the glorious per- 
sons in the Godhead ; the Father, Son, 
and Holy Ghost. Learn, 1. That all 
things are not revealed to the angels them- 
selves, but such things only as it concerns 
them to know, and the wisdom of God 
thinks fit to reveal. 2. That the precise 
dme of the day of judgment is kept by 
God as a secret to himself. He will not 
have us know that hour, to the intent that 
we may be upon our watch every hour. 

37 But as the days of Noe were, 
so shall also the coming of the Son 
of man be. 38 For as in the days 
that were before the flood they were 
eating and drinking, marrying and 
giving in marriage, until the day 
that Noe entered into the ark, 39 
And knew not, until the flood came 
and took them all away ; so shall 
also the coming of the Son of man 
be. 40 Then shall two be in the 
field ; the one shall be taken, 
and the other left. 41 Two wo- 
vicn shall be grinding at the mill ; 
the one shall be taken, and the 
other left. 

In these verses our Saviour declares that 



ST. MATTHEW. 



125 



Jerusalem's destruction, and the world's 
final dissolution at the great day, would 
be much like the destruction of the old 
world; and that in two respects: 1. In 
regard of unexpectedness. 2. In regard 
of security and sensuality. How sensual 
and secure was the old world before the 
flood ! ThcT/ were eating and drinking, 
marri/ing and giving iti inarriage. That 
is, wlioUy given up to sensuality and de- 
bauchery, and did not know of the flood's 
coming ; that is, did not consider it, till 
the Jlood swept them away. Thus was it 
in the destruction of Jerusalem, and so 
will it be in the end of the world. Learn 
hence, 1. That as the old world perished 
by infidelity, security, and sensuality, so 
will the same sins be prevailing before the 
destruction of this present world. As it 
was in the days of Noah, so shall it be 
when the Son of man cometh. 2. That 
the true reason why sinners are drowned 
in sensuality, and given over to security, 
is this, because they do not believe the 
certainty, or consider the proximity and 
nearness, of an approaching judgment. 
The old world knew not of the flood's com- 
ing. Strange ! when Noah had told them 
of it an hundred and twenty years together. 
The meaning is, they did not consider it, 
and prepare for it. To such as are unpre- 
pared for, and unapprehensive of death and 
judgment, those evils are always sudden, al- 
though men be never so often warned of 
them. But to such as are prepared, death 
is never sudden, let them die never so 
suddenly. 

42 Watch, therefore ; for ye 
know not what hour your Lord doth 
come. 43 But know this, that if 
the good man of the house had 
known in what watch the thief would 
come, he would have watched, and 
would not have suffered his house to 
be broken up. 44 Therefore be ye 
also ready : for in such an hour as 
ye think not the Son of man cometh. 

Here we have the application made by 
our Saviour of the foregoing doctrine con- 
cerning the certainty and suddenness of a 
future judgment. Watch therefore al- 
ways ; not without intermission, but with- 
out giving over; that ye may be not only 
in an habitual but actual readiness for my 
appearance. Learn hence. That it is the 
indispensable duty, and ought to be the in- 
defatigable endeavour, of every christian, 



12G 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. XXIV. 



to stand upon his walch in a prepared rea- 
diness for Christ's appearance, both for his 
coming to us, and for our going to him. 
Watch always, /yrjye know not the hour 
•when our Lord conieth. 

45 Who then is a faithful and 
wise servant, whom his lord hath 
made ruler over his household, to 
give them meat in due season ? 46 
Blessed is that servant whom his 
lord, when he cometh, shall find 
so doing. 47 Verily I say unto 
you. That he shall make him ruler 
over all his goods. 

These words may be applied two ways. 
] . To all the faithful servants of Christ in 
general. Thence learn. That for a person 
to spend and end his days in the service of 
Christ, and doing his will, gives good as- 
surance of a blessed condition. Blessed 
is that servant. 2. To the ministers of 
the gospel in special, may these words be 
applied. And here observe, 1. The cha- 
racter and duty of a gospel-minister : He 
is the steward of Christ's household, to 
give them their meat in due season. Ob- 
serve, 2. The qualifications requisite in 
such stewards, faithfulness and prudence. 
Who then is that faithful and-wise s^teward ? 
Observe, 3. The reward insured to such 
stewards as answer these qualifications : 
Blessed is that servant. Learn hence. 
That the ministers of the gospel are in a 
special sense the stewards of Christ's house- 
hold. 2. That faithfulness and prudence 
are the necessary and indispensable quali- 
fications of Christ's stewards. 3. That 
wherever these qualifications are found, 
Christ will graciously and abundantly re- 
ward them. Our faithfulness must respect 
God, ourselves, and our flock, and in- 
cludes our integrity of heart, purity of in- 
tention, industry of endeavour, imparti- 
ality in our administrations. Prudence ap- 
pears in the choice of suitable subjects, 
in the choice of fit language, in exciting 
our own aflfections, in order to the moving 
of our people's. Ministerial prudence will 
teach us, by the strictness and gravity of 
our deportment, to maintain our esteem in 
the consciences of our people. It will as- 
sist us to bear reproach, and direct us to 
give reproof : he that is silent cannot be 
innocent ; reprove we must, or we cannot 
be faithful ; but prudently, or we cannot 
be successful. 

48 But and if that evil servant 



shall say in his heart. My lord de- 
layeth his coming ; 49 And shall 
begin to smite his fellow-servants, 
and to eat and drink with the drunk- 
en ; 50 Tlie lord of that servant 
shall come in a day when he look- 
eth not for him, and in an hour 
that he is not aware of, 51 And 
shall cut him asunder, and appoint 
him his portion with the hypocrites : 
there shall be weeping and gnashing 
of teeth. 

Our Lord in these verses describes an 
unfaithful and negligent steward, and de- 
nounces the dreadful sentence of wrath 
hanging over him. He is described, 1. 
By the character of infidehty ; he believeth 
not Christ's coming to judgment, though 
he preaches it to others : he saith in his 
heart, Mij lord delay tth his coming. 2. 
He is described by his hatred, envy, and 
malignity against his fellow-servants, that 
were more painful and faithful than him- 
self. He begins to smite, at least with the 
virulence of his tongue, if not the violence 
of his hand. 3. By his associating with 
the wicked, and strengthening their hands 
by his ill example, He eateth and drink- 
eth with the drunken ; that is, as their 
associate and fellow-companion. Thus 
the unfaithful servant is described ; next 
his judgment and sentence is declared. 
Observe, 2. The tremendous judgment that 
shall come upon unfaithful stewards, L 
Christ will surprise them in their sin and 
security, by coming in an hour when they 
look not for him. 2. He will execute tem- 
poral vengeance upon them : He will cut 
them asunder, or hew them in pieces, as 
the Jews did their sacrifices ; that is, sepa- 
rate their souls from their bodies by un- 
timely death. Hence some observe. That 
God seldom suffers slothful, sensual, wick- 
ed, and debauched ministers to live out half 
their days. 3. Christ will punish them 
with eternal destruction also : appointing 
them their portion with hypocrites ; that 
is, with the worst of sinners, they shal! 
have a double damnation. As the hypo- 
crite has a double tongue, a double heart, 
and is a double sinner, so shall he under- 
go a double damnation. Learn hence. 
That such ministers as neglect the service of 
God, and the souls of their people ; as 
they are ranked amongst the worst of sin- 
ners in this life, so shall they be punished 
with them in the severest manner in the 



Chap. XXV. 



ST. MATTHEW 



127 



next. When Satan destroys the souls of 
men, he shall answer for it as a murderer 
only, not as an officer that was intrusted 
with the care of the soul. But if the stew- 
ard doth not provide, if the shepherd doth 
not feed, if the watchman doth not warn, 
they shall answer not only for the souls 
that have miscarried, but for an office neg- 
lected, for a talent hidden, and for a stew- 
ardship unfaithfully administered. Woe 
unto us, if at the great day we have dis- 
tressed souls roaring out their complaints, 
and howling forth that doleful accusation 
against us ; " Lord ! our stewards have 
defrauded us, our watchmen have betrayed 
us, our guides have misled us." 

CHAP. XXV. 

Our blessed Saviour, in the close of the foregoing^ 
chapter, had exhorted all Christians to the great 
duty of watchfulness, and to be in a posture of 
readiness against his coming. Which duty he is 
pleased to inculcate again in this chapter, and 
accordingly he urges the necessity of it from two 
eminent parables ; tlie former, Of the ten virgins 
ver, I. and the latter, Of a man travelling into a 
far country, ver. 14. 

'T^HEN shall the kingdom of hea- 
ven be likened unto ten virgins, 
which took their lamps, and went 
forth to meet the bridegroom. 2 
And five of them were wise, and 
five ivere foolisii. 

By the kingcloyyi of heaven here, is 
meant the state of the visible church on 
earth ; it cannot be understood of the 
kingdom of glory, for there are no foolish 
virgins in that kingdom ; nor yet of the 
invisible kingdom of grace, for therein are 
no foolish virgins neither. But in the visible 
church here on earth, there.ever has been a 
mixture of wise and unwise, of saints and 
hypocrites. Five of these virgins were zrise, 
and jive -were foolish. Where observe. Our 
Lord's great charity, in supposing and hop- 
ing that amongst the professors of the gospel 
the number of sincere christians is equal 
with hypocritical professors. Five were 
wise and jive foolish. Teaching us, that 
we should not confine the church of Christ 
within a narrow compass, nor confine our 
charity to a few, and think none shall go 
to heaven but those of our own party 
and persuasion, but to extend our charity 
to all christians that hold the foundation 
with us, and to hope well of them. Lord ! 
let me rather err on the charitable hand, 
than be found on the censorious and damn- 
ing side ! This is to imitate my Saviour, 
whose charity supposed as many wise as 



foolish virgins, as many saints as hypo- 
crites in the church. All these virgins 
are said to take their lamps and go forth 
to meet the bridegroom. For understand- 
ing which, we must know that our Sa- 
viour alludes to the ancient custom of mar- 
riages, which w^ere celebrated in the night ; 
when usually ten young men attended the 
bridegroom, and as many virgins attended 
the bride, with lamps in their hands ; the 
bridegroom leading home his bride by the 
light of those lamps. By these virgins are 
shadowed forth the professors of Chris- 
tianity. The foolish virgins are such as 
satisfy themselves with a bare profession, 
without bringing forth fruits answerable 
thereunto. The wise virgins are such as 
walked answerably to their profession, 
persevered and continued stedfast therein, 
and abounded in the graces and virtues of 
a good life. They are called wise virgi?is 
for the purity of their faith, for the purity 
of their worship, and for the purity of 
their conversations. 

3 They that ivere foolish took 
their lamps, and took no oil with 
them : 4 But the wise took oil 
in their vessels with their lamps. 

By the lamps are meant an outward 
profession of faith and holiness. By the 
oil in the lamps, is to be understood that 
solemn profession of repentance and faith, 
which all christians make in baptism. By 
oil in their vessels is meant the sanctifying 
and saving graces of the Holy Spirit ; the 
growth and improvement of them, with 
constancy and perseverance in them. 
Observe here, wherein the wise and foolish 
virgins agreed, and wherein they differed : 
they agreed thus far, that both took their 
lamps, both lighted them, they both had 
oil in their lamps ; the difference was not 
that the wise had oil, and the foolish had 
none ; but in this, that the wise took care 
for a future supply of oil to feed their 
lamps, when the first oil was spent. Some 
professors, like foolish virgins, content 
themselves with a blazing lamp of an out- 
word profession, without concerning them- 
selves to secure an inward principle of 
grace and love, which should maintain that 
profession, as the oil maintains the lamp. 
As the lamp will not long hold burning 
without a stock of oil to feed it ; so a 
profession of religion, though never so 
glorious, will not be lasting nor persevering, 
without a principle of faith and love in 



128 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Cliap. XXV. 



the heart to support and maintain it. 
Learn hence, That the true wisdom of a 
christian consists in this, to take care, 
that not onfy the lamp of his hfe may 
shine by outward profession, but that the 
vessel of his heart may be furnished with 
the graces of the Holy Spirit, as a pre- 
vailing and abiding principle, 

5 While the bridegroom tarried, 
they all slumbered and slept. 

That is, whilst Christ delays his coming 
to persons by death and judgment, they 
are not so diligent as they ought, to pre- 
pare themselves for death and judgment. 
Instead of being upon their watch and 
guard, therj slumbered and slept. Note, 
That not only visible professors, but the 
holiest and best of christians, are very 
prone to spiritual slumber. While the 
bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered 
and slept. Spiritual slumber consists in 
this : when graces are not lively and kept 
in exercise, particularly faith, hope, and 
love ; when there is an abatement of our 
love and zeal, an intermission of our care 
and watchfulness; this is a degree of spi- 
ritual slumber : yet the saints' slumber 
is not a prevailing slumber ; it is not an 
universal slumber, it is not in all the fa- 
culties of the soul ; if there be deadness 
in the alTections, yet there is no searedness 
in the conscience. I sleep, says the church, 
but my heart awaketh. Cant. v. 2. Still 
there is a principle in the soul which takes 
God's part, and the christian groans under 
the burden of his dull and drowsy state. 
But the greatest wisdom is, to maintain 
a constant watch, that we may at no time 
be surprised by the bridegroom's coming, 
or be in a confusion when death and 
judgment shall overtake us. Blessed are 
those virgins whose lamps always burn 
bright ! 

C And at midnight there was a 
cry made. Behold, the bridegroom 
Cometh ; go ye out to meet him. 

At midnight, that is, at the most dismal 
and unseasonable time, when all the vir- 
gins were fast asleep ; and, when awaken- 
ed in great affrightment, could not on 
a sudden consider what to do. Such is 
the case of those who put off their repent- 
ance and preparation for another world, 
till they are surprised by death and judg- 
ment. Lord, how will the midnight cry 
of the Bridegroom's coming terrify and 
amaze the unprepared soul ! What a 



surprising word will this be. Behold, the 
Bridegroom cometh ! Learn hence. That 
the Bridegroom will certainly come, though 
at his own time ; and then all shall be 
called upon, both prepared and unpre- 
pared, to go forth to meet him. Reason 
says he may come, because there is a 
just God, that will render to every one 
according to his deeds, and reward both 
body and soul for all the services they 
have done for God. The body shall not 
always remain like a solitary widow in 
the dust, but shall meet its old companion, 
the soul, again. And as reason says he 
may come, faith says he ivill come, and 
argues from the promise of Christ, John. 
xiv. 3. and from the purchase of Christ 
from Christ's affection to us, and from 
our affection to him : faith has seen him 
upon the cross, and determines she shall 
see him in the clouds. The Bridegroom 
will certainly come at his own time : hap- 
py they that are ready to go forth to meet 
him. 

7 Then all those virgins arose, 
and trimmed their lamps. 8 And 
the foolish said unto the wise, Give 
us of your oil ; for our lamps are 
gone out. 

The virgins' arising and trimming their 
lamps, doth denote, their actual prepara- 
tion for Christ's coming and appearance, 
and their putting themselves into a pos- 
ture of readiness to receive him. Thence 
learn. That a believing apprehension of 
the certainty and suddenness of our Lord's 
coming and approach will rouse us out of 
our spiritual slumber, and prepare us to 
meet him with joy and assurance. Then 
they arose, and trim7ned their lamps. 
And the foolish said to the wise, Give us 
of your oil, for our lamps are gone out. 
Observe here, 1 . A request made, Give us 
of your oil. There is a time when the 
neglecters of grace will be made sensible 
of the worth of grace by the want of it. 
Such as now undervalue, yea, vilify the 
grace of God, will be heard to say, O give 
us of your oil. Observe, 2. The reason 
of the request, For our lamps are gone 
out. Thence learn. That the lamp of 
profession will certainly go out, which has 
not a stock of grace to feed and maintain it. 

9 But the wise answered, saying. 
Not so ; lest there be not enough 
for us and you : but go ye ratlior 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. XXV. 

to them that sell, and buy for your- 
selves. 

Observe here, 1. The wise virgins' 
denial, Not so ; they will part with no 
oil. Learn hence, That it must be the care 
of every one to get grace of his own, 
otherwise the grace of others will do him 
no good. It is not what others have done, 
nay, not what Christ hinaself has done, 
that will save us, without our own en- 
deavours. Observe, 2. The reason of 
their denial, Lest there be not enough for 
us and you. Thence note. That such 
christians as have most grace, or the largest 
stock of grace, have none to spare ; none 
to spare in regard of their occasions for 
grace on earth, and in regard of their 
expectations of glory in heaven. Observe, 
3. The advice and counsel given ; Go to 
them that sell, and buy for yourselves. 
Some take this for an exhortation, others 
for a mocking derision. Go to them that 
sell : That is, say some, to the shop of the 
ordinances, where it may be had. Thence 
note. That such as would have grace, must 
have timely recourse to the ordinances 
and means of grace : Go to them, and buy. 
Others understand the words ironically, 
and as spoken by way of derision. Go 
to them that sell, if you know where to 
find them, and either buy or borrow for 
yourselves. Learn thence. That it is the 
greatest folly in the world to have oil to 
buy, when we should have oil to burn ; 
to have our grace to seek, when we should 
have it to exert and exercise. It is no time 
to get grace when the Bridegroom is come, 
and the day of grace is past and over. 

10 And while they went to buy, 
the bridegroom came ; and they 
that were ready went in with him 
to the marriage : and the door was 
shut. 

Observe here, 1. Christ will come at 
the great day to his people as a Bridegroom, 
and to the wicked as a Judge. The re- 
lation now begun betwixt Christ and his 
church shall then be publicly solemnized. 
Observe, 2. The qualifications of the per- 
sons, who shall enter with the Bridegroom 
into heaven : Such as •mere ready went 
in with him. The readiness is two-fold, 
habitual and actual ; habitual readiness 
consists in the state of the persons, justified 
and pardoned ; in the frame of the heart, 
sanctified and renewed ; and in the course 
of life, universally and perseveringly holy 



129 



and righteous, consists our actual prepara- 
tion. Observe, 3. The doleful condition 
of such as were unready : the door is 
shut against them : the door of repentance, 
the door of hope, the door of salvation, 
all shut, eternally shut, and by him that 
shutteth and none can open. Learn hence. 
The utter impossibility of ever getting 
our condition altered by us, when the 
day of grace and salvation is ouce over 
with us. Woe to such souls, who, by the 
folly of their own delays, have caused the 
door of conversion and remission to be 
everlastingly shut against their own souls. 

11 Afterward came also the other 
virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to 
us. 12 But he answered and said. 
Verily 1 say unto you, I know yon 
not. 

Observe here. The virgins' petition, and 
the Bridegroom's reply : the petition. Lord, 
Lord, open to us. Learn hence, That how 
negligent soever men are of heaven and 
salvation here, there are none but will 
desire it earnestly and importunately here- 
after ; Afterward ; that is, when too late. 
Observe farther, the Bridegroom's reply, I 
know you 7iot ; that is, I own and approve 
you not. There is a two-fold knowledge 
that Christ has, a knowledge of simple in- 
tuition, and a knowledge of special appro- 
bation; the former knowledge Christ has 
of all men, the latter only of good men. 
Learn hence, That it will be a dreadful 
misery for any persons, but especially for 
such as have been eminent professors, to 
be disowned by Christ at liis coming, to 
hear that dreadful word from the mouth 
of Christ, Verily, I know you not. 

13 Watch therefore, for ye know 
neither the day nor the hour where- 
in the Son of man cometh. 

Here we have our Lord's application 
of the foregoing paraule, to be always 
upon our watch, continually upon our 
guard, to meet the Bridegroom in death 
and judgment, because we know not the 
time of his coming and approach. Learn 
hence, That watchfulness and a prepared 
readiness is a great duty that lies upon all 
those who believe and look for Christ's 
coming and appearance. Happy souls! 
who are found in a posture of readiness 
at the Bridegroom's approach, standing, 
with lamps trimmed, loins girded, lights 
burning ! that is, improving and exercising' 
their graces, abounding in all the fruits of 



130 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. XXV. 



the Spirit, and in all the substantial 
virtues of a good life : such, and only- 
such, shall have an entrance abundantly 
administered unto them into the everlast- 
ing kingdom. 

14 For the kingdom of heaven is 
as a man travelling into a far coun- 
try, who called his own servants, 
and delivered unto them his goods. 
15 And unto one he gave five ta- 
lents, to another two, and to ano- 
ther one ; to every man according 
to his several ability ; and straight- 
way took his journey. 

Observe here, the person intrusting, 
Clirist ; the persons intrusted, all christians; 
the talents they are intrusted with, goods ; 
that is, goods of providence, riches and 
honours ; gifts of mind, wisdom, parts 
and learning ; gifts of grace : all these 
goods Christ dispenses variously ; more 
to some, fewer to others, but with expec- 
tation of improvement from all. Learn, 
1. That Christ is the great Lord of the 
universe, and Owner of all his servants* 
goods and talents. That every talent is 
given us by our Lord to improve and 
employ for our Master's use and service. 

3. That it pleases the Lord to dispense his 
gifts variously among his servants ; to some 
he commits more, to others fewer talents, 

4. That to this Lord of ours every one 
of us must be accountable and responsible 
for every talent committed to us, and 
intrusted with us. 

16 Then he that had received the 
five talents went and traded with 
the same, and made thetyi other five 
talents. 17 And likewise he that 
had received two, he also gained 
other two. 18 But he that had re- 
ceived one went and dijrged in the 
earth, and hid his lord's money. 

The former verses gave an account of 
the lord's distribution •, these acquaint 
us with the servants' negociation. Some 
traded with, and made improvement of, 
their talents, others traded not at all ; yet 
it is not said, they did embezzle their 
talent, but not improve it. Learn, It is 
not sufficient to justify us, that we do not 
abuse our talents ; it is fault enough to 
hide them, and not improve them ; the 
slothful servant shall no more escape pun- 
ishment than the wasteful servant. 



19 After a long time 'the lord of 
those servants conieth, and reckon- 
eth with them. 20 And so he that 
had received five talents came and 
brought other five talents, saying. 
Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five 
talents ; behold, I have gained 
besides them five talents more. 21 
His lord said unto him. Well done, 
thou good and faithful servant : 
thou hast been faithful over a few 
things, I will make thee ruler over 
many things : enter thou into the 
joy of thy lord. 22 He also that 
had received two talents came and 
said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto 
me two talents : behold, I have 
gained two other talents besides 
them. 23 His lord said unto him. 
Well done, good and faithful ser- 
vant : thou hast been faithful over 
a few things, I will make thee ruler 
over many things : enter thou into 
the joy of thy lord. 

Note here, 1 . That the wisdom of God 
dispenses his gifts and graces variously, 
as so many talents to his servants, to be 
employed and improved for his own glory, 
and his church's good. 2. That all such 
servants as have received any talents, 
must look to reckon and account for 
them : that this account must be particular, 
personal, exact, and impartial. 3. That 
all such servants as have been faithful in 
improving their talents, at Christ's coming 
shall be both commended and rewarded 
also. Well done, good and faithful ser- 
va7it ; enter thou into the joy of thy 
Lord. Where observe, 1. That the state 
of the blessed is a state of joy. 2. That 
the joy which the blessed partake of, is 
the joy of their Lord ; that is, the joy 
which he provides, and which he pos- 
sesses. 3. That the way after which the 
saints partake of this joy, is by entering 
into it, which denotes the highest and the 
fullest participation of it. The joy is too 
great to enter into them, they must enter 
into that : Enter thou into the joy of thy 
Lord. 

24 Then he which had received 
the one talent came, and said, Lord, 
I Knew thee that thou art an hard 
man, reaping where thou hast not 



Chap. XXV. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



131 



sown, and gathering where thou hast 
not strawed : 25 And I was afraid, 
and went and hid thy talent in the 
earth : lo, there thou hast that is 
thine. 'IQ His lord answered and 
said unto him, Tkou wicked and 
slothful servant, thou knewest that 
I reap where I sowed not, and ga- 
ther where I have not strawed : 27 
Thou oughtest therefore to have put 
my money to the exchangers, and 
then at my coming I should have re- 
ceived mine own with usury. 

^^ Observe here, 1. That he that received 
but one talent, is called to an account as 
well as he that received five. Heathens that 
have but one talent, namely, the light of 
nature, must give an account for that one 
talent, as well as christians that have five 
must accou.it for five. Observe, 2. The 
slothful servant's allegation ; I knew thee 
to be an hard man, and I -was afraid. 
Where note. His prejudice against his mas- 
ter, and the effect of that prejudice, he was 
afraid ; and the fruit of his fear, he hid his 
talent in the earth. Learn hence. That 
sinners entertain in their minds very hard 
and unkind thoughts of God ; they look up- 
on him as a hard Master, rigorous in his 
commands, and difficult to be pleased. 
Learn, 2. That such hard thoughts of God 
do naturally occasion slavish fear, which is 
a great hinderance to the faithful discharge 
of our duty to God. Observe, 3. The mas- 
ter's reply to the slothful servant's allegation, 
which contains an exprobation, or upbraid- 
ing of him for his sloth and negligence; 
Thou wicked and slothful servant. Where 
note, 1. That the slothful servant is a wicked 
servant, as well as the unfaithful servant. 
2. The wicked and slothful servants, to ex- 
cuse themselves, will not stick to charge 
their miscarriages upon God himself : Thou 
•wert an hard man. 3. That no excuses 
whatsoever shall serve either the slothful or 
unfaithful servant at the bar of Christ 

28 Take therefore the talent from 
him, and give it unto him which 
hath ten talents. 29 For unto 
every one that hath shall be given, 
and he shall have abundance ; but 
from him that hath not shall be 
taken away even that which he hath. 
30 And cast ye the unprofitable 
servant into outer darkness : there 



shall be weeping and gnashing of 
teeth. 

These words contain the sentence de- 
nounced by Christ upon the slothful ser- 
vant : his punishment is first a punishment 
of loss : Take ye the talent from him. 
Learn hence, That not improving the gifts 
of God given as talents to us, provokes 
God to take them from us, as well as mis- 
iinproving. From him that hath not ; 
that is, from him that iuiproveth not, shall 
he taken that which he hath. 2. Follows 
the punishment of sense : Cast him into 
outer darkness, where is weeping a/nl 
gnashing of teeth. Learn thence. That 
hell is a place and state of inexpressible 
misery and torment ; a dismal place, as 
being deprived of the sight and enjoyment 
of God, of Christ, of saints, and of angels ; 
a doleful place, full of overwhelming sor- 
row and despairing grief. The gnashing 
of their teeth, signifies their being full of 
rage and indignation against God, against 
the saints, and against themselves. 

31 When the Son of man shall 
come in his glory, and all the holy 
angels with him, then shall he sit 
upon the throne of his glory : 32 
And before him shall be gathered 
all nations ; and he shall separate 
them one from another, as a shep- 
herd divideth his sheep from the 
goats. 33 And he shall set the 
sheep on his right hand, but the 
goats on the left. 

From hence to the end of the chapter, 
we have a draught and scheme of the ge- 
neral judgment. Where observe. The per- 
son judging, the Son of rnan ; the per- 
sons judged, good and bad ; the one called 
sheep, for their innocency and meekness ; 
the other goats, for Lheir unruliness and 
uncleanness. Observe also. The manner 
of his coming to judgment, most august 
and glorious : glorious in his person, glo- 
rious in his attendance. Learn, That 
Christ's appearance at the great day to the 
judging of the world, will be a splendid 
and a glorious appearance : He will corne 
with power, and in great glory, in regard 
of the dignity of his person, and the quality 
of his office, and the greatness of his work. 
He will appear as a king in the midst of 
his nobles, to take off the scandal and ig- 
nominy of the cross, and as a recompense 
for his abasement and humiliation, to strike 



132 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. XXV. 



the hearts of his enemies with dread and 
fear, and to fill the souls of his people 
with joy and confidence. Let us therefore 
propound it to our faith, to believe it ; to 
our fear, to tremble at the thoughts of it ; 
to our hope and love, that we may expect 
and wait, look and long for it. Observe 
farther, The work of this Judge : he shall 
first gather all nations. Learn, That at 
the general judgment all that have lived 
shall be summoned to the bar of Christ : 
persons of all sects, of all ages, of all 
nations, of all conditions ; having gathered 
them together ; he shall next separate 
them, as a shepherd his sheep. Thence 
learn. That though there be a mixture 
and confusion of the godly and the wicked 
here, yet at the day of judgment there 
will be a separation made betwixt them, 
and they shall never come together more. 

34 Then shall the King say unto 
his right hand, Come, ye blessed of 
my Father, inherit the kingdom pre- 
pared for you fi'om the foundation 
of the world : 

Here follows the sentence which Christ 
will pronounce upon the righteous and 
the Avicked at the great day : first the 
sentence of absolution upon the righteous ; 
then the sentence of condemnation upon 
the wicked. Learn thence. That at the 
day of judgment the godly shall be ab- 
solved before the wicked are condemned. 
The reasons are, because it is more delight- 
ful to God to reward than to punish, to 
save than to destroy ; because it is suitable 
to Christ's love to begin with his saints, 
and to be admired by them : also to put 
his saints out of fear, as to their eternal 
condition, and to bring them near to him- 
self, and to set them upon the throne with 
himself, as assessors and judges of the wick- 
ed world, 1 Cor. vi. 3. Know ye not 
that the saints shall judge the world ? 
Lastly, With respect to the wicked, that 
they may be the more affected with their 
loss, and have a vexatious and tormenting 
sense of that happiness which they have 
refused. Observe next, The joyful sentence 
pronounced. Come ye blessed of my 
Father. Where note, 1. The joyful com- 
pellation. Ye blessed. Which term is 
opposed to these two things : 1. To the 
world's judgment of them, which accounts 
them vile and accursed. Here is an abso- 
lution from their unjust censures. 2. To 
the sentence of the law, which pronoiuicee 



all its transgressors accursed. Gal. iii. 19. 
But, says Christ ; I, that have redeemed 
you from the curse of the law, pronounced 
you blessed. But why blessed uf my Fa- 
ther ? L To point out the fontal cause of 
all our happiness, the love of the Father ; 
this prepared the kingdom. 2. This ex- 
pression shows how the divine Persons 
glorify one another. As the Spirit glorifies 
the Son, so the Son glorifies the Father, 
and refers all to him. Therefore Christ 
says not. Come, my redeemed ones ; but. 
Come, ye blessed ones : not. Come, you 
that were redeemed by me ; but, Come, 
ye blessed of Jny Father : it is his good 
pleasure to give you the kingdotn. Learn 
hence. That the Lord Jesus Christ at his 
second coming will adjudge all his people 
into a state of glorious and everlasting 
happiness, which his Father has prepared, 
and himself has purchased, for them. Come, 
ye blessed of my Father, inherit the 
kingdom prepared for you. 

35 For I was an hungred, and 
ye gave me meat : I was thirsty, and 
ye gave me drink : I was a stranger, 
and ye took me in : 36 Naked, 
and ye clothed me : I was sick, and 
ye visited me : I was in prison, and 
ye came unto nie. 

Here our Saviour sets forth, not the me- 
ritorious cause of his saints' happiness, but 
the infallible signs of such as should in- 
herit that happiness, the character of the 
persons that might expect it. Such as fed 
him, clothed and visited him, in his mem- 
bers. Where note, 1. That the godly hav- 
ing their sins forgiven in this world, some 
would gather that there should no men- 
tion be made of them in the day of judg- 
ment. For they observe, that Christ here 
only mentions the good works of his 
saints : ye fed me, ye clothed me, not a 
word of their failings. Observe, 2. That 
they are not the duties of the first, but of 
the second table, which here Christ men- 
tions, because works of charity are more 
visible to the world than works of piety. 
Learn hence, 1. That at the great day 
every man's sentence shall be pronounced 
according to his works. 2. That works 
of charity done out of love to Christ,' shall 
be particularly observed, and bountifully 
rewarded, by Christ at the great day. The 
question then will be, not only how have 
you heard, prayed, or preached, but whom 
have you fed, clothed, and visited. 3. 
That whatever good or evil is done to 



Chap. XXV. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



133 



the poor members of Christ, Clirist reckons 
it as done unto himself, I tvas an hunger- 
ed, and T/e gave me meat. Christ personal is 
not the object of our pity and charity, but 
Christ mystical is exposed to want and ne- 
cessity ; he feels hunger and thirst, cold and 
nakedness, in his members, and is refreshed 
and comforted in their refreshments and com- 
forts. He takes it as a courtesv, who might 
demand it by authority. How can we be 
close-handed or hard-hearted to the necessi- 
tous christians, did we steadily believe that 
in administering to them, we minister re- 
freshments to Christ himself, who parted 
with tlie glory of heaven, yea, with his 
heart's blood, for us ? 

37 Then shall the righteous an- 
swer him, saying, Lord, when saw 
we thee an hungred, and fed thee? 
or thirsty, and gave thee drink ? 38 
When saw we thee a stranger, and 
took thee in ? or naked, and clothed 
thee? 39 Or when saw we thee 
sick, or in prison, and came unto 
thee ? 40 And the King shall an- 
swer and say unto them, Verily I 
say unto you. In as much as ye have 
done it unto one of the least of 
these my brethren, ye have done 
it unto me. 

Here we have a dialogue or interchange- 
able discourse betwixt Christ and his faith- 
ful servants at the great day. Where ob- 
serve. Their question and his reply. Their 
question. Lord, token did we feed thee, 
clothe, or visit thee ? We have forgot the 
time, though sucli is thy goodness to re- 
member it. Learn thence. That Christ 
keeps a faithful record of all our acts of pious 
charity, when we have forgotten them. If 
we remember to do good, Christ will be sure 
to remember the good we have done ; aye, 
and reward it as well as remember it. Again, 
this question of theirs may proceed from ad- 
miration and wonder, and from an humble 
sense of their own nothingness, and from 
the greatness of Christ's condescension, in 
taking notice of such mean services, and re- 
quiting them with such a transcendent re- 
ward. Learn hence. That when Christ 
comes to reward his children and people, 
they will wonder and be astonished at the 
poverty and meanness of their own services, 
and at the transcendency and greatness of 
his rewards. Observe next. Our Lord's re- 
ply. In as much as ye did it to the least 



of these my brethren, ye did it unto mc. 
Where observe, 1. The title put by Jesus 
Christ upon his poorest and mealiest mem- 
bers, Aly brethren. 2. The resentment of 
the kindness showed to his bretliren, as 
shown unto himself; In as much as ye 
did it to them, ye have done it to me. 
Learn thence. That such is the endearing in- 
timacy between Christ and his members, 
that whatsoever is done to any of them, is 
esteemed by him as done unto himself. 

41 Then shall lie say also unto them 
on the left hand. Depart from me, ye 
cursed, into everlasting fire, pre- 
pared for the devil and his angels ; 

Here we have the sentence of condem- 
nation denounced against the wicked. 
Where observe, 1. The posture in which 
they are found ; at Christ's left hand. 
This doth not so much denote the ignominy 
of the place (though placing at the left hand 
is less honourable) as the impiety of their 
choice ; they took up with left-handed mer- 
cies, the mercies of the footstool, wealth and 
riches, dignity and honour. As for the good 
things which are at God's right hand for 
evermore, they never sought after these. 
Verily a man may know his future state by 
his present choice. Observe, 2. The title 
given to wicked men. Ye cursed. Not 
cursed of m}' Father, because cursing is God's 
strange work; we force him to it, he delights 
not in it. Observe, 3. The sentence itself. 
Where note, 1. The punishment of loss. De- 
part from me. Learn thence, 1. That it is 
the hell of hell to the damned, that they 
must everlastingly depart from, and lose the 
comfortable fruition and enjoyment of, God 
in Christ : it is to be deprived of an infinite 
good. Hell is a deep dungeon, where the 
sunshine of God's presence never cometh. 
2. The punishment of sense. Depart into 
everlasting fire. Where note. Its severity, 
it is fire : its eternitVs it is everlasting fire. 
Learn thence, That there are everlastmg tor- 
ments in hell prepared for the wicked ; 
there is a state of torment, and a place of tor- 
ment, provided by God. All princes have 
not only their palace, but their prison. God 
has the palace of heaven, for the enjoyment 
of himself and his friends ; and the prison of 
hell, for punishing his enemies. The nature 
of the damned's misery is set out by fire ; 
the whole man, body and soul, shall be tor- 
mented in it. 1. The body in all its mem- 
bers , their eyes with affrighted spectacles, 
the devil and his angels, and their old com^ 



134 



panions in sin : every time they behold 
these, it revives their guilt, and enrages their 
despair. Their ears are filled with yellings 
and howlings, and hideous outcries. 2. The 
soul shall suffer in hell, by reflecting upon 
its own choice, by remembering time sin- 
fully wasted, seasons of grace sadly slight- 
ed, the mercies of God unworthily abused. 
Lord ! how will the remembrance of past 
mercies aggravate present miseries! Note 
farther, 1. That Christ saith not of the pu- 
nishment, as he doth of the blessing, that it 
was prtparcd from the be^irniiiis: of the 
"world, lest it should be thought that God 
designed men's punishment before they sin- 
ned. Note 2. That although Christ saith. 
Come, ye hlessed of mi/ Father, he saith not. 
Go, ?/f cursed of mi/ Father, because God 
is the Author and Procurer of men's happi- 
ness, but man only is the author of his own 
misery. Note, 3. That Christ speaks of this 
eternal misery by fire, as designed originally 
not for man, but for the devil and his angels ; 
but man, by giving up himself to the power 
and thraldom of sin and Satan, and work- 
ing himself down to the infernal regions, 
becomes like unto him in torments, whom 
he so much resembled in manners and qua- 
lities. 

42 For I was an huns;red, and ye 
gave me no meat : I was thirsty, and 
ye gave nie no drink : 43 I was a 
stranger, and ye took nie not in : 
naked, and ye clothed me not : sick, 
and in prison, and ye visited me not. 
4t Then shall they also answer him, 
saying. Lord, when saw we thee an 
hnngred, or athirst, or a stranger, 
or naked, or sick, or in prison, and 
did not minister unto thee ? 45 
Then shall he answer them, saying. 
Verily I say nnto you. In as much 
as ye did it not to one of the least 
of these, ye did it not to me. 

Observe here, 1. How Christ lays the 
charge of the wicked's damnation upon 
themselves alone. Ye gave ?)/e no went, ye 
took me not in : man, and man alone, is 
the cause of his own destruction and dam- 
nation. Observe, 2. The kind ot sm charged 
on the wicked at the great day. Consider 
it, 1. In general, it is a sin of omission. 
Whence learn. That sins of omission are 
certainly damning as well as sins of com- 
mission, or want of love to Christ and his 
members. Learn thence, That one reign- 



ST. MATTHEW. Chap. XXVI. 

ingsin, one prevailing corruption, is enough 
to damn a person, because it deprives a 
man of the grace of the gospel, and excludes 
him from all the benefit of the promises. 
Note lastly. If such as do not give to Christ 
in his members shall be miserable at the 
great day, what will the condition of them 
be that take from them, who strip and starve 
them, who persecute and hate them, who 
imprison or banish them ? If the unchari- 
table shall scarcely be saved, yea, shall cer- 
tainly be damned,where shall the unmer- 
ciful and cruel appear ? 

46 And these shall go away in- 
to everlasting punishment, but the 
righteous into life eternal. 

Observe here, 1. That though the righte- 
ous are first judged, yet the sentence is first 
executed on the wicked. Thej/ shall go 
info everlasting piinish?nent. Observe, 2. 
That men's slates and conditions in another 
world will be different, as their ways and 
doings have been in this world. 3. That 
everlasting life shall be the portion of the 
godly, and everlasting punishment the por- 
tion of the wicked. God grant that the 
horrors of eternal darkness, and the dismal 
thoughts of a miserable eternity, may ef- 
fectually discourage every one of us from a 
wicked and impenitent course of life I For 
•who can dwell with devouring^ re ? Who 
can dwell -with everlasting burnings ? 

CHAP. XXVI. 
A ND it came to pass, when Jesus 
had finished all these sayings, 
he said unto his disciples, 2 Ye 
knowthalafter two days is the feast 
of the passover, and the Son of man 
is betrayed to be crucified. 3 Then 
assembled together the chief priests, 
and the scribes, and the elders of 
the people, unto the palace of the 
high priest, who was called Caia- 
phas, 4 And consulted that they 
might take Jesus i)y subtilty, and 
kill him. 5 But they said. Not on 
the feast- t/a?/, lest there be an up- 
roar among the people. 

Several things are here observable ; as, 1. 
The persons conspiring against our blessed 
Redeemer's life, namely, chief priests, and 
scribes, and elders, that is, the whole san- 
hedrim, or general council of the Jewish 
church : these lay their malicious heads to- 



Chap. XXVI. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



135 



gether, to contrive the destruction of the 
innocent Jesus. Here was a general coun- 
cil of them, consisting of priests, doctors, 
and elders, with the high-priest their pre- 
sident, yet erring in a point of doctrine 
concerning the Messiah, not believing Jesus 
to be the Son of God, notwithstanding all 
the convincing miracles which he had 
wrought before them. Observe, 2. The 
manner of this conspiracy against our 
Saviour's life ; it was clandestine, secret, 
and subtle : They considtcd how they 
might take him by subtilty and kill him. 
Learn hence. That Satan makes use of the 
subtilty of crafty men, and abuseth their 
parts as well as their power, for his own 
purposes. Satan never sends a fool on his 
errand. Observe, 3. The time when this 
conspiracy was managed ; at the time of 
the passovcr. Indeed at first the chief 
priests did not incline to that thne,feariiig 
a tutnult and uproar among the people ; 
but Judas presenting them with a fair op- 
portunity to apprehend him, they changed 
their purpose, and accordingly at the feast 
of the passover our Saviour suriered. This 
was not without a mystery, that Christ, the 
true Lamb of God, whom the paschal lamb 
typified and represented, should be offered 
up at the feast of the passovcr ; signifying 
thereby, that he was the true paschal Lamb, 
and that the legal shadow ought to cease 
in the exhibition of him. Learn hence. 
That not only the death of Christ in 
general, but all the circumstances relating 
to it, were fore-ordained of God himself ; 
as, the place where, at Jerusalem ; the 
time when, r?^ the time of the passover ; 
that time did God devise best for this Lamb 
to be a sacrifice. 

6 Now when Jesus was in Betha- 
ny, in the house of Simon the leper, 
7 There came unto him a woman 
having an alabaster box of very pre- 
cious ointment, and poured it on 
his head as he sat at meat. 

This woman St. John says was Mary, 
the sister of Lazarus, who, to show her love 
to Christ, and put honour upon him, took 
a precious box of ointment, and poured if 
upon our Saviour's head, according to the 
custom of the eastern countries, who used 
so to do at their feasts and banquets ; to 
which David alludes, Psal. xxiii. 5. Learn 
hence, \. That where true love to Christ 
prevails in the heart, nothing is adjudged 
too dear for Christ. This box of ointment 



murmuring Judas valued at three hundred 
pence ; which, reckoning the Roman penny 
at seven pence halfpenny, makes of our 
money nine pounds seven shillings and 
sixpence. Love (we see) spares no cost j 
but where the esteem of Christ is high, 
the affection will be strong. Note, 2. 
That where strong love prevails towards 
Jesus Christ, it suffers not itself to be 
outshined by any examples. The weak- 
est woman that strongly loves Jesus Christ, 
will piously strive with the greatest apostle 
to express the fervour of her love unto 
him. I do not find any of the apostles 
at so much cost to pilt honour upon 
Christ, as this poor woman was at. Love 
knows no bounds, no measures. 

8 But when his disciples saw it, 
they had indignation, saying. To 
what purpose is this waste ? 9 For 
this ointment might have been sold 
for much, and given to the poor. 

That is, v/hen Judas, and some other 
disciples whom he had influenced, saw 
this action, they murmured : particularly 
Judas blamed this holy woman for needless 
prodigality, and did tacitly reflect upon 
Christ himself, for suffering that wasteful 
expense. O ! how doth a covetous heart 
think every thing too good for Christ: 
he that sees a pious action well done, and 
seeks to undervalue it, shows himself pos- 
sessed with a spirit of envy. Judas's 
invidious spirit makes him censure an action 
which Christ highly approved. Learn 
thence. That men who know not our 
hearts, may, through ignorance or prejudice, 
censure and condemn those actions v/hich 
God doth commend and will graciously 
reward. Happy for this poor woman, that 
she had a more righteous Judge to pass 
sentence upon her action than wicked 
Judas ! 

10 When Jesus understood it, he 
said unto them, Why trouble ye the 
woman ? for she hath wrought a 
good work upon tne. 11 For ye 
have the poor always with you ; but 
me ye have not always. 12 For in 
that she hath poured this ointment 
on my body, she did it for my burial. 

Observe here. How readily our Lord 
vindicates this good woman : she says 
nothing for herself, nor need she, having 
such an Advocate. L Christ rebukes Judas, 
Why trouble ye the -woman ? Plainly 



136 



ST. MATTHEW. 



intimating, that it is no small trouble to a 
gracious spirit, to find their good work 
misinterpreted and misrepresented : next, 
he defends the action, calling it a good 
work ; because done out of a principle of 
love to Christ : S/ie hath wrought a good 
•work upon me. And lastly, He gives the 
reason of her action : She did it for my 
burial. As kings and great persons were 
wont, in those eastern countries, at their 
funerals to be embalmed with odours and 
sweet perfumes ; so, says our Saviour, this 
woman, to declare her faith in me as her 
King and Lord, doth with this box of oint- 
ment, as it were beforehand, embalm my 
body for its burial. True faith puts hon- 
our upon a crucified, as well as a gloritied. 
Saviour. This holy woman accounts Christ 
worthy of all honour in his death, believ- 
ing it would be a sweet-smelling sacrifice 
unto God, and the savour of life unto his 
people. Observe farther, from these words, 
jBm^ me ye have not always, the doctrine 
of transubstantiation is overthrown ; for if 
Christ be, as to soul, body, and divinity, 
perpetually present in the host among 
those of the church of Rome, then have 
they Christ always with them : contrary 
to what our Saviour here declares ; though 
his poor members would be always present 
with them, yet he himself should not be 
so : The poor ye have always, but me ye 
have not always. 

13 Verily I say unto you, Where- 
soever this gospel shall be preached 
in the whole world, there shall also 
this, that this woman hath done, be 
told for a memorial of her. 

Our Saviour having defended this holy 
woman from the calumny of Judas in the 
foregoing verses, in this he declares, that 
she should be rewarded with an honour- 
able memorial in all ages of the church : 
Wheresoever this gospel is preached, this 
shall be spoken of her. O what care 
doth Christ take to have the good deeds 
of his children not buried in the dust 
with them, but be had in everlasting 
rememhrance. Though sin causes men 
to rot above ground, to stink alive, and, 
when they are dead, leave an inglorious 
memory upon their graves ; yet will the 
actions of the just smell sweet, and blos- 
som in the dust. I.earn hence, That we 
may laudably prosecute that which will 
procure us a good name, and spread our 
reputation to future ages. 



Chap. XXVI. 

14 Then one of the twelve, called 
Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief 
priests, 15 And said xtnto them. 
What Avill ye give me, and I will 
deliver him unto you ? And they 
covenanted with him for thirty 
pieces of silver. 16 And from that 
time he sought opportunity to be- 
tray him. 

Observe here, 1. The person betraying 
our blessed Redeemer, Judas: Judas, a 
professor ; Judas, a preacher ; Judas, an 
apostle, and one of the twelve whom Christ 
had chosen out of the world to be his 
dearest friends, and his own family and 
household. Shall we wonder to find 
friends unfriendly and unfaithful towards 
us, when our Saviour had a traitor in his 
own house ? Observe, 2. The heinousness 
of his sin in betraying Christ : he betray- 
ed Christ Jesus, a Man ; Christ Jesus, his 
Master ; Christ Jesus, his Maker ; the first 
was murder, the second treason. Learn 
thence, That it is no strange or uncommon 
thing for the vilest of sins, and most horrid 
impieties, to be acted by such persons as 
make the most eminent profession of 
holiness and religion. Observe, 3. What 
was the sin occasioning and leading Judas 
to the committing of this horrid sin; it 
was covetousness. I do not find that 
Judas had any particular malice against 
Christ's person, but a base and unworthy 
spirit of covetousness possessed him j this 
made him sell his Master. Covetousness 
is a root-sin ; an inordinate desire and 
love of riches, an eager and unsatiable 
thirst after the world, is the parent of the 
most monstrous and unnatural sins : There- 
fort remember we our Saviour's caufion, 
Luke xii. 15. Take heed and beware of 
covetousness ; he doubles the caution, to 
show us both the great danger of the sin, 
and the great care we ought to take to 
preserve ourselves from it. Observe, 4. 
How small a sum tempted the covetous 
mind of Judas to betray his Master, thirty 
pieces of silver ; which amoimted but to 
three pounds fifteen shillings of our money. 
This was the price of a slave or common 
servant, Exod. xxi. As Christ took upon 
him the form of a servant, so his life was 
valued at the rate of an ordinary servant's 
life. It may seem a wonder, that the high- 
priests should offer no more for the life of 
our Saviour, and that Judas should accept 
so little ; seeing that his covetousness was 



Chap. XXVI. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



137 



so great, and their rage so grievous, how 
comes it to pass that he demands so httle, 
and that they offer no more? Had the 
reward been proportioned to the greatness 
of their mahce, it had been thirty thousand 
rather than thirty pieces of silver. But 
the scripture must be fulfilled ; accordingly 
the wisdom of God overruled this matter, 
for fulfilling that prophecy, Zech. xi. 12. 
They weighed for my price ihirtij pieces 
of silver. Let not any christian be con- 
• cerned that he is despised and underva- 
lued ; he can never meet with so great a 
reproach, so low an abasement, for Christ, 
as Christ underwent for him. Observe, 
lastly, Judas's folly, as well as treachery ; 
he that might have demanded what he 
pleased for this purchase, He says unto 
the chief priests, What will ye give me ?- 
As if he had said, " I am resolved to sell 
him at any rate, give me what you will 
for him." Nay, farther, Judas covenanted, 
and they promised, but whether it was 
now paid, appeareth not. Leara, That 
such a person as has a vile and base esteem 
of Jesus Christ, will part with him upon 
any terms. The bare expectation of a 
few shekels of silver, will make such a 
one willing to part with a pearl of great 
price. Wonder not then to see some 
persons selling their country, their friends, 
their God, and their religion, for money. 
Judas did so before them. 

17 Now the first day of the /eos? 
of unleavened bread the disciples 
came to Jesus, saying unto him, 
Where wiit thou that ue prepare 
for thee to eat the passover ? 18 
And he said. Go into the city to such 
a man, and say unto him, The Mas- 
ter sailh. My time is at hand ; I 
will keep the passover at thy house 
with my disciples. 19 And the dis- 
ciples did as Jesus had appointed 
them ; and they made ready the pass- 
over. 

The time for the celebration of the pass- 
over being now at hand, Christ sends two 
of his disciples to Jerusalsm, to prepare 
things necessary in order thereunto: ac- 
cordingly they enter the city, and find 
the master of an house, whose heart Christ, 
by his divine power, had so inclined, that 
he willingly accommodated them upon 
this occasion. Our blessed Saviour had 
not a lamb of his own, and possibly no 



money in his purse to buy one, but he 
finds as excellent accommodations in this 
poor man's house, as if he had dwelt in 
Ahab's ivory palace, and had had the 
provisions of Solomon's table. Learn 
hence. That Christ has such an influence 
upon, and command over, the spirits of men, 
that he can incline them to do what ser- 
vice soever he pleaseth for him. When 
Christ has a passover to celebrate, he will 
prepare an house, and dispose the heart to 
a free reception of himself. Learn, 2. 
That Christ, being under the law, observes 
and keeps the law of the passover. Thus 
he fulfilled all righteousness ; and although 
the ceremonial law was to receive its abolish- 
ment in the death of Christ, yet all the 
time of his life he punctually observes it. 

20 Now, when the even was 
come, he sat down with the twelve. 

Observe here, The impudent forehead 
of this bold traitor, Judas, who presumed, 
as soon as he had sold his Master, to 
sit down at the table with him, and par- 
take with the other disciples of the so- 
lemn ordinance of the passover : had the 
presence of Judas polluted the ordinance 
to any beside himself, doubtless our Sa- 
viour would never have permitted this bold 
intrusion. Learn hence, 1. That nothing 
is more ordinary than for unholy persons 
presumptuously to rush in upon the so- 
lemn ordinances of God, which they have 
no right, whilst such, to partake of. 2. 
That the presence of such persons pollutes 
the ordinances only to themselves ; holy 
persons are not polluted by the sins of 
such : for to the pure all things are 
pure. 

21 And as they did eat, he said. 
Verily I say unto you, that one of 
you shall betray me. 

What an astonishing word was this ! 
" One of you my disciples shall betray 
me." Can any chu'ch on earth expect 
purity in all its members, when Christ's 
own family of twelve had a traitor and a 
devil in it ? Yet though it was very sad 
to hear that one should betray him, it was 
matter of joy that it was but one ; one 
hypocrite in a congregation is too much, 
but there is cause of rejoicing if there be 
no more. But why did not Christ name 
Judas, and say, " Thou art he that shall 
betray me ?" Doubtless to draw him to 
repentance, and to prevent giving Judas 
any provocation. Lord, how sad it is for 
such as pretend friendship to Christ, and 



138 



ST. MATTHEW. 



call themselves of his family and acquaint- 
ance, -who eat of Jiis bready and yet lift 
up the heel against him ! 

22 And they were exceeding; sor- 
rowful, and began every one of them 
to say unto him. Lord, is it I ? 

Observe here, 1. The disciples' sorrow, 
and next, the effect of that sorrow. Their 
sorrow was (as well it might) exceeding 
great. Well might innocent disciples be 
overwhelmed with sorrow, to hear that 
their Master should die ; that he should die 
by treason , that the traitor should be one 
of themselves. 2. But thougii their sorrow 
was great, yet was the effect of their sorrow 
very good ; it wrought in them a holy sus- 
picion of themselves, and caused every one 
to search himself, and say, Master, is it 
I? Thence learn, That it is possible for 
such secret wickedness to lurk in our hearts 
as we never suspected, which time and 
temptation may draw forth in such a man- 
ner as we could not believe : and therefore 
it is both wise and holy to suspect our- 
selves, and to be often saying. Lord, is it 
I? There is no better preservative from sin, 
than to be jealous over ourselves with a 
godly jealousy. Observe farther. That 
though the disciples' fear and sorrow made 
them jealous and suspicious, yet was it of 
themselves, not of one another, nay, not of 
Judas Iiiniself : every one said. Master, is 
it I? Not, Master, is it Judas? Learn 
hence. That true sincerity and christian 
charity will make us more suspicious of 
ourselves than of any other person whatso- 
ever ; it always hopes the best of others, 
and fears the worst concerning ourselves. 

23 And he answered and said, He 
that dippeth his hand with me in the 
dish, the same shall betray me. 
24 The Son of man goetli, as it 
is written of him : but woe unto that 
man l)y whom the Son of man is be- 
trayed ! it had been good for that 
man if he had not been born. 25 
Then Judas, which betrayed him, 
answered and said. Master, is it I ? 
He said unto him, Thou hast said. 

Here our Saviour acquaints his disciples 
■who it was 111 tt had designed his death, 
even he that dipped with him in the dish, 
or he to whom lie gave the sop. Observe, 
The traitor, whom Christ less loved, he has 
the sop given to him ; the other disciples, 



Chap. XXVI. 

whom Christ loved better, had no such 
particular boon. Outward good things are 
not always given to the children of men in 
love, but are sometimes bestov.'ed in dis- 
pleasure; there is no measuring Christ's af- 
fections by temporal blessings, no conclud- 
ing either love or hatred by these things. 
Observe farther. How Judas could sit still 
and hear the threats of judgment denounc- 
ed against himself without concern ; he 
hears Christ say. Woe to the man bij whom 
the Son of man is betrayed, and is no more 
blanked than innocence itself : resolved sin- 
ners run on desperately in their wicked 
courses, and with open eyes see and meet 
their own destruction ; and are neither dis- 
mayed at it, nor concerned about it. Ob- 
serve farther. That this shameless man had 
the impudence to say to Christ, Master, is 
it I ? Our Saviour gives him a direct af- 
firmation. Thou hast said. Did Judas, 
think ye, blush, and cast down his guilty- 
eyes, and let fall his drooping head, at so 
galling an intimation ? Nothing less. Lord, 
hov^ does obduracy in sin steel the brow, 
and make it incapable of all relenting im- 
pressions ! Observe lastly. How Christ pre- 
fers nonentity before damnation. 7/ had 
been better for that man if he had never 
been born. A temporal miserab'e being is 
not worse than no being, but an eternal 
miserable being is worse than no being at 
all ; eternal misery is much worse than non- 
entity. It had been better for Judas if he 
had never been born, than to commit such 
a sin, and lie under such wrath, and that 
everlasting. O, better to have no being, 
than not to have a being in Christ. 

26 And, as they were eating, Je- 
sus took bread, and blessed it, and 
brake it, and gave it to the disci- 
ples, and said, Take, eat; this is 
my body. 27 And he took the 
cup, and gave thanks, and gave it 
to them, saying. Drink ye all of it: 
28 For this is my blood of the new 
testament, which is shed for many 
for the remission of sins. 29 But 
I say unto you, I will not drink 
henceforth of this fruit of the vine, 
until that day when I drink it new 
with you in my Father's kingdom. 
30 And when they had sung an 
hymn, they went out into the mount 
of Olives. 

Immediate! v after the celebration of the 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. XXVI. 



passover, follows the institution of the Lord's 
supper. In which observe, 1, The Author 
of this new sacrament, Jesus took dread. 
Note thence, 'J'hat to institute a sacrament 
is Clirist's sole prerogative ; it is the church's 
duty to celebrate the sacraments, but she 
lias power to make none. This belongs 
only to Christ. Observe, 2. The time of 
the institution, the night before his passion. 
T/ie n/ir/it before he was bctrai/ed, Jesus 
took dread. Learn thence, That it is very 
necessary, when sutFerings are approaching, 
to have recourse to the table of the Lord, 
which affords botii an antidote against tear, 
and is restorative to faith. Observe here, 
3. The sacramental elements, bread and 
wine ; bread representing his body ; and 
z:'///(' his blood. Observe, 4. The ministeri- 
al actions, //le breaking of the bread, and 
tlie blessing of the cup. As to the bread, 
Jesus took it ; that is, set it apart from 
common use, and separated it for holy ends 
and purposes. He blessed it ; that is, 
prayed tor a blessing upon it ; and brake 
eV, thereby shadowing forth his body broken 
upon the cross. And he gave it to his 
disciples, sai/ing, " This broken bread sig- 
nifies my body suddenly to be broken 
upon the cross for your redemption and sal- 
vation ; do this in remembrance of me, 
and of my death." Thus the scriptures 
constantly speak in sacramental matters. 
So circumcision is called the covenant, and 
the lamb the passover. In like manner, 
here, the bread is called Christ's bod//, be- 
cause instituted to represent to all future 
ages his body broken. Moreover, how 
could the disciples think they had eaten 
Christ's body, when they saw his body 
whole before them ? And besides, to eat 
human flesh, and drink blood, was not only 
against the express letter of the law, but ab- 
horred by all mankind. True it is, that the 
heathens laid it to the christians' charge, 
that they ate human flesh ; but falsely, as 
it appears by the apology made for the pri- 
mitive christians; whicli apology had been 
false, had they daily eaten the flesii of Christ 
in the sacrament. The very heathens own- 
ed it a thing more detestable than death to 
eat human flesh, and more to eat the God 
they worship, and to devour him whom 
they adore. Again, as to the cup ; Christ 
having set it apart bv prayer and thanksgiv- 
ing, he commands his disciples to drink all 
of it ; and subjoins a reason tor it ; for this 
is my blood of the new testament, which 
is shed for the remission of sins ; that is, 
the wine in this cup represents the shedding 



139 



of my blood, by which the new covenant 
betwixt God and man was ratified and con- 
firmed. Whence we learn, That every com- 
municant has as undoubted a right to the 
cup as to the bread, in the Lord's supper : 
Drink t/e all of it, says Christ ; therefore 
to deny the cup to the laity is contrary to 
the institution of Christ, After the celebra- 
tion was over, our Saviour and his disciples 
sang an hymn, as the Jews were wont to do 
at the passover the six eucharistical psalms, 
from the I13th to the 119th psalm. Learn 
hence. How fit it is that God be glorified 
in his church, by singing of psalms, and in 
particular, when the sacrament of the Lord's 
supper is celebrated. IV/ien they had sung 
an hymn, they went out into the mount 
of Olives, 

31 Then saith Jesus unto them, 
AH ye shall he offended because of 
nie this night : for it is written, I 
will smite the Shepherd, and the 
sheep of the flock shall be scattered 
abroad. 

Here our Saviour acquaints his disciples, 
that by reason of his approaching sufl^er- 
ings, they should all of them be so exceed- 
ingly offended, that they would certainly 
forsake and leave him ; which accordingly 
came to pass. Learn thence. That Christ's 
dearest friends forsook him, and left him 
alone in the midst of his greatest distress 
and danger. Observe, 2. What was the 
cause of this their flight, it was the preva- 
lency of their fear. Thence note. How 
sad it is for the holiest and best of men to 
be left under the power of their own fears 
in a day of temptation. 

32 But after I am risen again, I 
will go before you into Galilee. 

Observe here, The wonderful lenity of 
Christ towards his timorous and fearful dis- 
ciples; notwithstandmg their cowardly 
flight from him, he tells them he would 
not forsake them, but love them still ; and 
as an evidence of it, would meet them in 
Galilee: I will go before you into Gali- 
lee : there shall you see me. And when 
they did see him he never upbraided them 
with their timorousness, but was friends 
with them, notwithstanding their late cow- 
ardice. Christ's love to his disciples is like 
himself, unchangeable and everlasting. 
Having loved his own, he loved them to 
the end. 



140 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. XXVI. 



33 Peter answered and said unto 
him, Tliough all mere shall be offend- 
ed because of thee, yet will I never 
be offended. 34 Jesus said unto 
him. Verily I say unto thee, That 
this night, before the cock crow, 
thou shalt deny me thrice. 35 Pe- 
ter said unto him, Though I should 
die with thee, yet will 1 not deny 
thee. Likewise also said all the 
disciples. 

See here what strong purposes and settled 
resolutions both Peter and all the apostles 
had, to keep close to Christ ; but how did 
their self-confidence fail them ! Learn 
thence, That self-confidence is a sin, too, 
too incident to the holiest and best of men. 
Though all men forsake thee, yd -wUl tiot 
I. Good man, he resolved honestly ; but 
too, too much in his own strength. Little, 
little did he think what a feather he should 
be in the wind of temptation, if once God 
left him to the power and prevalence of his 
own fears. Observe farther. That the rest 
of the apostles had the like confidence of 
their own strength with St Peter. Like- 
•wise also said they all. Note thence, 
That the holiest of men know not their 
own strength till it comes to the trial. 
Little did these good men imagine what a 
cowardly spirit they had in them, till 
temptation put it to the proof. 

36 Then cometh Jesus with them 
unto a place called Gethsemane, 
and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye 
here, while 1 go and pray yonder. 
37 And he took with him Peter 
and the two sons of Zebedee, and 
began to be sorrowful and very 
heavy. 38 Then saith he unto them, 
My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even 
unto death : tarry ye here, and 
watch with me. 39 And he went a 
little farther, and fell on bis face, 
and praved, saying, O my Father, 
if it be possible, let this cup pass 
from me : nevertheless, not as I will, 
but as thou wilt. 40 And he cometh 
unto the disci|)les, and findeth them 
asleep, and saith unto Peter, What ! 
could ye not watch with me one 
hour ? 41 Watch and pray, that 
ye enter not into temptation : the 
spirit indeed is willing, but the 



flesh is weak. 42 He went away 
again the second time, and prayed, 
saying, O my Father, if this cup 
may not pass away from me, ex- 
cept I drink it, thy will be done. 
43 And he came and found them 
asleep again : for their eyes were 
heavy. 44 And he left them, and 
went away again, and prayed the 
third time, saying the same words. 
Our blessed Saviour being now come 
with his disciples into the garden, he falls 
there into a bitter and bloody agony, in 
which he prayed with wonderful fervency 
and importunity to his heavenly Father. 
His sufferings were now coming on a great 
pace, and he meets them upon his knees, 
and would be found in a praying posture. 
Learn thence, That prayer is the best 
preparative for, as well as the most pow- 
erful support under, the heaviest sufferings 
that can befall us. As to this prayer of 
our Saviour's in the garden, many things 
are very observable. As, 1. The place 
where he prayed, in the garden ; but 
why went Christ thither ? Was it to hide 
or shelter himself from his enemies ? No- 
thing less : for if so, it had been the 
most improper place, because he was wont 
to retire thither to pray, John xviii. 2. 
Judas knew the place, fur Jesus oft-times 
resorted thither ; so that Christ went 
thither not to shun, but to prepare him- 
self by prayer to meet, his enemies. Ob- 
serve, 2. The time when he entered the 
garden for prayer, it was the evening: 
here he spent some hours in pouring out 
his soul to God : for about midnight Ju- 
das and the soldiers came and apprehend- 
ed him in a praying posture. Teaching us 
by his example, that when imminentdan- 
gers are before us, especially when death 
is apprehended by us, to be very much in 
prayer to God, and very fervent in our 
wrestling with him. Observe, 3. The 
matter of our Lord's prayer, that if possible 
the cup might pass from him ; that is, 
those bitter sufferings which were then 
before him ; particularly the insupportable 
burden of his Father's wrath. He prays, 
if possible, that his Father would excuse 
him from this dreadful wrath, his soul 
being amazed at it. But what ! Did Christ 
then begin to repent of his undertaking 
for sinners ? Did he shrink and give back 
when it came to the pinch ? No, no ; as 
Christ had two natures, being God and Man, 
so he had two distinct wills ; as Man, 



Chap. XXVI. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



141 



he feared and shunned death ; as God-man, 
he wilUngly submitted to it ; the divine 
spirit and tiie human nature of Christ did 
now assault each other with disagreeing 
interests, till at last victory was got on the 
spirit's side. Again, this prayer was not 
absolute, but conditional : if it be possible. 
Father, if it may be, if thou art willing, if 
it please thee, let it pass : if not, I will 
drink, it. Learn hence, 1. That the cup 
of sufferings is in itself considered as a 
very bitter and distasteful cup, which 
human nature abhors, and cannot but de- 
sire and pray may pass from it. 2. That 
yet oft-times the wisdom of God is pleased 
to put this bitter cup of afHiction into the 
hands of those whom he doth most sin- 
cerely love. 3. That when God doth so, 
it is their duty to drink it with humble 
submission, and cheerful resignation. Not 
mji will, but thine be done. Observe, 4. 
The manner how our Lord prayed ; and 
here we shall find it, 1 . A solitary prayer ; 
he went by himself alone, out of the 
hearing of his disciples ; he saith unto 
them, Tarrii yehcre, ■while I go and pra// 
yonder. Mark, Christ did neither desire 
his disciples to pray with him, nor to pray 
for him. No, he must tread the wine- 
press alone ; not but that Christ loved and 
delighted in his disciples' company ; but 
there were occasions when he thought fit 
to leave them, and to go alone to God in 
prayer. Thence learn, That the company 
of our best friends is not always seasonable. 
Peter, James, and John, were three good 
men ; but Christ bids them tarry, while he 
went aside for private prayer. There are 
times and cases when a christian would 
not be willing that the dearest friend he 
has in the world should be with him, or 
understand and hear what passes betwixt 
him and his God. 2. This prayer of 
Christ was an humble prayer ; that is evi- 
dent by the postures into which he cast 
himself; sometimes kneeling, sometimes 
lying prostrate upon his face. He lies in 
the very dust ; lower he cannot fall ; and 
his heart was as low as his body. And 
such was the fervour of his spirit, that he 
prayed himself into an agony. O let us 
blush to think how unlike we are to Christ 
in prayer, as to our praying frame of 
spirit ! Lord, what drowsiness and dead- 
ness! what laziness and dulness ! what 
stupidity and formality, is found in our 
prayers ! how often do our lips move, and 
our hearts stand still ! 3. It was a repeated 
and reiterated prayer. He prayed the 



first, second, and third time. He returns 
upon God over and over, plies him again 
and again, resolving to take no denial. 
Learn thence. That christians ought not to 
be discouraged, though they have be- 
sought God again and again for a particular 
mercy, and no answer of prayer has come 
unto them. Observe also. How our Lord 
used the same prayer three times over, 
saying the same words. A person then 
may pray with and by a form of prayer, 
and yet not pray formally, but in a very 
acceptable manner unto God. Christ both 
gave a form of prayer to his disciples, and 
also used one himself. Observe next. The 
posture in which our holy Lord found 
his own disciples, when he was in his 
agony : they xvere sleeping, when he was 
praying. O wonderful ! that they could 
sleep at such a time. Hence we gather, 
that the best of Christ's disciples may be 
sometimes overtaken with infirmities, with 
great infirmities, when the most important 
duties are performing. He cometh to his 
disciples and findeth them sleeping. Ob- 
serve farther. The gentle reproof he gave 
the disciples for sleeping : What ! could 
ye not -watch with me one hour ? Could 
not you watch, when your Master is in 
such danger ? Could not you watch with 
me, when I am going to deliver up my 
life for you ? What ! not one hour, and 
that the parting hour too ? After this 
reprehension, he subjoins an exhortation : 
Watch and pray, that ye enter not into 
temptation : and superadds a forcible rea- 
son, /or though the spirit is willing, yet 
the flesh is weak. Thence learn. That the 
holiest and best resolved christians, who have 
willing spirits for Christ and his service, 
yet in regard of the weakness of the flesh, 
or the frailty of human nature, it is their 
duty to watch and pray, and thereby 
guard themselves against temptations. 
Watch and pray,— for though the spirit 
is willing, yet thefl'tsh is weak ; though 
you have sincerely resolved rather to die 
with me than deny me, yet be assured, 
that when temptation actually assaults 
you, when fear and shame, pain and suf- 
fering, death and danger, are before you, 
and present to your sense, the weakness 
of your flesh will prevail over these resolu- 
tions, if you do not watch diligently, and 
pray fervently for divine assistance. 

45 Then cometh he to his disci- 
ples, and saith unto them, Sleep on 
now, and take your rest ; behold, the 



142 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. XXVI. 



hour is at hand, and the Son of man 
is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 

46 Rise, let us be going ; behold, 
he is at hand that doth betray me. 

47 And while he yet spake, lo, Ju- 
das, one of the twelve, came, and 
with him a great multitude with 
swords and staves, from the chief 
priests and elders of the people. 

48 Now he that betrayed him gave 
them a sign, saying. Whomsoever I 
shall kiss, that same is he : hold him 
fast. 49 And forthwith he came to 
Jesus, and said, Hail, Master ; and 
kissed him. 50 And Jesus said 
unto him. Friend, wherefore art 
thou come ? Then came they and 
laid hands on Jesus, and took him. 

Our Saviour having poured out his soul 
in prayer to God in the garden, he is now 
ready, and waits for the coming of his 
enemies ; being first in the field : accord- 
ingly, while he yet spake, came Judas, 
one of the twelve, and under his conduct 
a band of soldiers to apprehend him. It 
was the lot and portion of our blessed 
Redeemer to be betrayed into the hands 
of his mortal enemies, by the treachery 
of a false and dissembling friend. Observe 
here, The traitor, the treason, the manner 
how, and the time when, this treasonable 
design was executed. Observe, 1. The 
betrayer, Judas ; all the evangelists care- 
fully describe him by his name, Judas, 
by his surname, Iscariot ; lest he should 
be mistaken for Jude, the brother of James. 
God is tender and careful of the names 
and reputations of his upright-hearted ser- 
vants. He is also described by his office, 
one of the twelve. The eminence of his 
place of station was an high aggravation 
of his transgression. Nay, in some re- 
spect he was preferred above the rest, having 
a peculiar trust reposed in him ; he bare 
the bag : that is, he was almoner and 
steward of Christ's family, to take care for 
the necessary accommodations of Christ 
and his apostles ; and yet this man, thus 
called, thus honoured, thus respectfully 
treated, by Christ, for the lucre of a little 
money perfidiously betrays him. O whi- 
ther will not a bad heart, and a busy devil, 
carry a man ! Learn hence, 1. That the 
greatest professors had need be jealous of 
their own hearts, and look well to the 
grounds and principles of their profession. 



A profession begun in hypocrisy, will cer- 
tainly end in apostasy. Learn, 2. That 
persons are never in such imminent dan- 
ger, as when they meet with temptations 
exactly suited to their master-lust. Covet- 
ousness was Judas's master-sin ; the love of 
the world made him a slave to Satan, and the 
devil lays a temptation before him which 
suits his temper, hits his humour, and it 
prevails immediately. O pray, pray that 
ye may be kept from a strong and suitable 
temptation, a temptation suited to your 
predominant lust and inclination. Ob- 
serve, 2. As the betrayer Judas, so the trea- 
son itself, with its aggravating circum- 
stances : he led an armed multitude to the 
place where Christ was, gave them a signal 
to discover him, and encouraged them to 
lay hands upon him, and hold him fast. 
This was the hellish design Satan put into 
his heart, and it has these aggravating cir- 
cumstances attending it. He had seen the 
miracles which Christ wrought by the pow- 
er of God, and could not but know him 
to be a Divine Person. He could not sin 
out of ignorance or blind zeal, but the 
love of money made him do what he did. 
Farther, what he did was not done by the 
persuasions of any, but he was a volunteer 
in this service. The high priest neither 
sent to him, nor sent for him, but he offers 
his service, and no doubt they were very 
much surprised to find one of Christ's own 
disciples at the head of a conspiracy against 
him. Learn hence. That no man knows 
where he shall stop or stand when he first 
enters the ways of sin ; should any one 
have told Judas, that his love of money 
would at last so far prevail upon him, as 
to make him sell the blood of Jesus Christ, 
he would have answered, as Hazael did 
Elisha, Is thy servant a dos:; that I should 
do this thing ? Wickedness, like holi- 
ness, doth not presently come to its full 
strength in the soul, but grows up by in- 
sensible degrees. Men do not commence 
masters in the art of villany in an in- 
stant; they begin first with lesser, then 
with greater sins ; first with secret, then 
with open sins. Doubtless Judas was an 
old though secret sinner ; surely he could 
not immediately attain to such an height 
of impudence, and so great a degree of 
stupidity. Hear, ye professors of religion, 
ye that partake of ordinances, frequent sa- 
craments, take heed of living as Judas did, 
in the allowed commission of any secret 
sin, to the wasting o-f your consciences, 
and the destroying of your souls. Observe, 



Chap. XXVI. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



143 



3. The manner how this hellish plot was 
executed ; partly by force, and partly by 
fraud : by force, in that he came tvit/i a 
multitude armed with stvords and staves : 
and by fraud ; he gives him a kiss, and 
says, Hail, Master. Here was honey in 
the tongue, and poison in the heart. This 
treacherous kiss enhanced his crime be- 
yond expression. O vilest of hypocrites, 
how durst thou approach so near thy Lord 
in the exercise of so much baseness and 
ingratitude! But none sin with so much 
impudence and obstinacy as apostates. 
Learn we hence. To beware of men : when 
we see too, too glittering appearances, we 
may suspect the inside. Charity for others 
is our duty, but too great confidence may 
be our snare. There is so much hypoc- 
risy in many, and so much corruption in 
all, that we must not be too confident. 
Observe, 4. The time when this treasonable 
design was executed upon Christ ; when 
he v/as in the garden with his disciples, 
exhorting them to prayer and watchfulness, 
dropping heavenly and most seasonable 
counsels upon them. While he yet spake, 
lo, Judas cariie, and the multitude -with 
him. Judas found Christ in the most hea- 
venly and excellent employment, when he 
came to apprehend him. O how happy is 
it, when our sufferings find us in God's 
way, engaged in his service, and engaging 
his assistance by fervent supplication ? 
Thus did our Lord's sufferings meet hira : 
may they so meet us ! 

51 And, behold, one of them 
which were with Jesus stretched out 
his hand, and drew his sword, and 
struck a servant of the high priest, 
and smote off his ear. 52 Then 
said Jesus unto him, Put up again 
thy sword into his place ; for all 
they that take the sword shall per- 
ish with the sword. 53 Thinkest 
thou that I cannot now pray to my 
Father, and he shall presently give 
me more than twelve legions of an- 
gels ? 54 But how then shall the 
scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it 
must be ? 

The rude multitude laying hands upon 
Christ, the disciples, who had remitted 
their walch, do resume their courage, and 
are willing to rescue their Master if they 
can ; particularly Peter draws his sword, 
and cuts off the ear of Malchus, one of the 



forwardest to lay hold on Jesus. Observe 
here St. Peter's zeal and sincere love for 
his Lord and Master : it was in great 
sincerity spoken. Though I die -with thee, 
yet xvill I not deny thee. Bui why did 
not Peter draw his sword upon Judas, 
rather than Malchus ? Perhaps because 
though Judas was more faulty, yet Mal- 
chus was more forward to arrest and carry 
off our Saviour. How doth a pious breast 
swell with indignation ad; the sight of any 
open affront oflered unto Christ ! Observe 
here. That though St. Peter's heart was 
sincere, yet his hand was rash : good in- 
tentions are no warrant for irregular ac- 
tions ; and accordingly Christ, who ac- 
cepted his affection, reproves him for the 
action : put up thy sivord ; for they that 
take the sword, shall perich by the szvord. 
Learn hence. That Christ will thank no 
man to fight for him without a warrant 
and commission from him. To resist a 
lawful magistrate, even in Christ's own 
defence, is rash zeal, and discountenanced 
by the gospel. To a lawful power law- 
fully executed, there must be yielded due 
obedience. Observe lastly, Our Lord's 
absolute refusal to be rescued out of his 
enemies' hands, M'ith the reason of it : 
" Did I incline to be rescued by force, (as 
if our Lord had said,) I could demand all 
the troops of angels in heaven to show 
themselves upon that occasion ; but how 
can this stand with the decree of my 
Father-, with the declarations of the scrip- 
ture, with the demonstration of my mercy, 
and with the salvation of miserable man- 
kind ?" Learn thence. That Christ was 
infinitely more concerned for the salvation 
of lost sinners, than for his own death 
and sufferings ; more concerned for our 
eternal salvation, than for his own tem- 
poral preservation. Had he been rescued 
by the power of angels, we had fallen a 
prey into the paw of devils. 

55 In that same hour said Jesus 
to the multitudes. Are ye come out 
as against a thief, with swords and 
staves for to take me ? I sat daily 
with you teaching in the temple, 
and ye laid no hold on me. 56 
But all this was done, that the 
scriptures of the prophets might be 
fulfilled. Then sill the disciples 
forsook him, and fled. 

We had an account of our Lord's ap- 
prehension in the former verses; here, 



144 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. XXVr. 



the sad effect of it upon his disciples : 
They all forsook him, and Jled. Had this 
beeri done by the giddy rauUitude who 
followed him for tlie loaves, it had been 
no cause of wonder ; but for those who 
had already forsaken all to follow him, who 
were faithful though fearful friends ; what 
an addition to his suflTerings inust this be ! 
No doubt but the ingratitude of his friends 
made deeper wounds in his soul, than the 
malice of enemies could make in his body. 
They that said all to Christ, verse 35, 
Though -we should die with thee, yet we 
•will not deny thee, do here all of them 
desert and forsake him ; when it came to 
the push, not a man of them stands by 
him. Learn thence. That the holiest of 
men know not their own hearts when great 
temptations and trials are before them, till 
they come to grapple with them, and to be 
engaged in them. We know not our own 
strength till temptation puts us to tlie 
proof. 

57 And they that had laid hold 
on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas 
the high priest, where the scribes 
and the elders were assembled. 58 
But Peter followed him afar oft", un- 
to the high priest's palace, and went 
in, and sat with the servants to 
see the end. 59 Now the chief 
priests and elders, and all the coun- 
cil, sought false witness against Je- 
sus, to put him to death : 60 But 
found none : yea, though many false 
witnesses came ; yet found they none. 
At the last came two false witness- 
es, 61 And said. This ye/Zow said, 
I am able to destroy the temple of 
God, and to build it in three days. 
62 And the high priest arose, and 
said unto him, Answerest thou no- 
thing ? what is it which these wit- 
ness against thee ? 63 But Jesus 
held his peace. 

Judas having made good his promise to 
the higti priest, and delivered Jesus a prison- 
er into their hands, these wolves of the 
evening no sooner seize the Lamb of God, 
but they thirst and long to suck his inno- 
cent blood. Yet lest it should look like a 
downright murder, they will allow him a 
mock-trial, by abusing the law, and per- 
verting it to injustice and bloodshed ; ac- 
cordingly, they industriously suborn false 



witnesses to take away his life, not sticking 
at the grossest perjury, so they might de- 
stroy him. The chief priests and elders, 
and all the council, sought false witness 
against Jesus, to put him to death. Abo- 
minable wickedness ! innocency itself can- 
not protect from slander and false accusa- 
tion. No man is so innocent or good 
whom false witness may not condemn. 
Yet observe farther, our Lord's meekness 
and patience, his submissive silence under 
all these wicked suggestions and false ac- 
cusations ; Jesus held his peace, verse 63. 
Guilt is clamorous and impatient ; inno- 
cence is silent, and careless of misreports. 
Learn hence. That to bear the revilings, 
contradictions, and false accusations of 
men, with a silent and submissive spirit, is 
an excellent and Christ-like temper. Our 
Lord stood before his unjust judges and 
false accusers, as a sheep before his shearer^ 
dumb, and not opening his mouth. Al- 
though a trial for his life was managed 
most malicioush' and illegally against him, 
wheii he was reviled, he reviled not again ; 
when he suffered, he threatened not, but 
committed himself to him that judgeth 
righteously. O let the same humble mind 
be in us, which was also in Christ Jesus. 

— And the high priest answered 
and said unto him, I adjure thee, 
by the living God, that thou tell us 
whether thou be the Christ, the 
Son of God. 64 Jesus saith unto 
him. Thou hast said : nevertheless 
I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye 
see the Son of man sitting on the 
right hand of power, and coming 
in the clouds of heaven. 65 Then 
the high priest rent his clothes, 
saying. He hath spoken blasphe- 
my ; what further need have we of 
witnesses >. behold, now ye have 
heard his blasphemy. 66 What 
think ye } They answered and said. 
He is" guilty of death. 67 Then 
did they spit in his face, and buf- 
feted him ; and others smote him 
with the palms of their hands, 68 
Saying, Prophesy unto us, thou 
Christ, who is he that smote thee ? 

We observed even now that our Lord 
was silent, and did make no reply to the 
false witnesses tliat evidenced against him 



Chap. XXVI. 

at his trial ; because being so manifestly 
contradictory, they did tail to the ground 
pf themselves. But now when the question 
was solemnly put by the high priest, Ari 
thou the Christ ? he said, I am. Thence 
learn. That although we are not obliged to 
answer every cavilling or ensnaring ques- 
tion, yet we are bound taithtully to own 
and freely to conless the truth, when we 
are solemnly called thereunto. Christ, who 
in the former verses was silent, and as a 
deaf man heard not, now witnesses a good 
confession : teaching us, both by his ex- 
ample and command, to confess and own 
botli him and his truth, when lawfully re- 
quired ; when our silence would be a de- 
nying of the truth, a dishonour to God, 
and a scandal to our brethren. Christ 
knew that his answer would cost him his 
life, and yet he durst not but give it. Art 
thou the Son of the Blessed '/ Jesus said, 
I am. Yea, larther observe. That as Christ 
answered directly and plainly at his trial, 
so he did not refuse to answer upon oath : 
/ adjure thee by the living God, says the 
judge of the court, that thou tell us -whe- 
ther thou art the Christ ; that is, I require 
thee to answer this question upon oath ; tor 
adjuring a person, or requiring him to an- 
swer upon oath, was the manner of swear- 
ing among the Jews. Now to this adjura- 
tion our Saviour answered plainly and 
directly, I am, Mark xiv. 61. Hence 
learn, That swearing betbre a magistrate, 
upon a just and great occasion, is lawful : 
if Christ in the fitth of St. Matthew forbid 
all oaths, then here his practice was contra- 
ry to his (pwn doctrine ; but it is evident 
that Christ answered the magistrate upon 
oath, and so may we. Observe lastly. The 
sentence of condemnation which the council 
passed upon him for owning himself to be 
the Son of God : He hath spoken blasphe- 
my, and is worthy to die. Hereupon the 
unruly rabble aftiront him with the vilest 
abuses, and most horrid indignities ; They 
spit in his face, they blindfolded him, 
they smote him with their fists and palms 
of their hands ; and in the way of con- 
tempt and mockery, they bid him divine 
or prophesy who it was that smote him. 
Learn hence. That there is no degree of 
contempt, no mark of shame, no kind of 
sutiering, which we ought to decline or 
stick at for Christ's sake, who hid not his 
face from shame and spitting upon our ac- 
count. O monstrous impiety ! how do they 
spit on that awful lovely face ! How do 
they revile and blaspheme his noble office 



ST. MATTHEW. 



145 



of a Prophet of the most high God ! Pro- 
phesy, say they, in a mocking derision, 
who was it that smote thee Y- To sucti 
acts of inhumanity did the barbarous rage 
of the bloody Jews carry them. 

69 Now Peter sat without in the 
palace : and a damsel came unto 
him, saving, Thou also wast with 
Jesus of Galilee. 70 But he denied 
before them all, saying, I know not 
what thou sayest. 71 And when 
he was gone out into the porch, ano- 
ther maid saw him, and said unto 
them that were there. This fellow 
was also with Jesus of Nazareth. 
72 And again he denied with an 
oath, I do not know the man. 73 
And after a while came unto him 
they that stood by, and said to Pe- 
ter, Surely thou also art one of 
them ; for thy speech bewrayeth 
thee. 74 Then began he to curse 
and to swear, saying, I know not 
the man. And immediately the 
cock crew. 75 And Peter remem- 
bered the words of Jesus, which 
said unto him, Before the cock 
crow thou shalt deny me thrice. 
And he went out, and wept bitterly. 

This last paragraph of the chapter gives 
us an account of the fall and rising of Pe- 
ter, of his sin in denying Christ, and of 
his recovery by a speedy and severe re- 
pentance. Both must be considered dis- 
tinctly. First, As touching his sin and 
fall, there are four particulars observable, 
namely, the sin itself, the occasion of that 
sin, the reiteration and repetition of it, and 
the aggravating circumstances attending it. 
Observe, 1. The sin itself, the denial of 
Christ, I know not the man ; a manifest 
untruth : next he adds an oath to confirm 
that untruth j he swore that he knew not 
the man. And, last of all, he wished an 
horrid curse and imprecation upon himself, 
that is, he wished himself excommunicated 
and cast out of the church, say some : he 
wished himself eternally separated from the 
presence of God, say others : he wished in 
etfect that the devil might take him, if he 
were acquainted with Jesus. The inordi- 
nate love of life, and slavish fear of sutier- 
ings and death, may draw the best of men 
to commit the worst of sins. Observe, 2. 
The occasions of this sin, and they were 



146 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. XXVI. 



three: his following Christ afar off; his be- 
ing in bad company, amongst Christ's ene- 
mies ; and his presumptuous confidence of his 
own strength and standing. 1. His follow- 
ing of Christ afar off. To follow Christ 
is the work of faith, and fruit of love ; but 
to follow him afar off, was the eflect of fear 
and frailty. Woe unto us, when a temp- 
tation comes, if we be far off from Christ's 
presence and assistance. 2. His being in 
wicked company among Christ's enemies. 
O Peter, thou hadst better have been a-cold 
by thyself alone, than sifting by a fire en- 
compassed witli the blasphemies of the 
wicked : where thy conscience, though not 
seared, was yet made hard. The way to 
escape prevailing temptations to sin, is to 
shun such places, and to avoid such compa- 
nions, as in all probability will invite and 
draw us into sin. 3. Confidence of his 
own strength and standing was another oc- 
casion of Peter's falling. Pride and pre- 
sumptuous confidence have been ever the 
forerunners and occasions of a fall. O 
Lord ! to presume upon ourselves is the 
ready way to provoke thee to leave us to 
ourselves : if ever we stand in the day of 
trial, it is the fear of falling must enable 
us to stand. Not only they who go forth 
in the strength of nature, but also they 
who go forth iu the strength of inherent 
grace, may quickly fall from their own 
stedfastness. Observe, 3. The reiteration 
and repetition of his sin. He denies him 
a first, a second, and a third time. He 
denies him first with a lie, then with an 
oath, and after all with an anathema and 
a curse. O how dangerous is it not to re- 
sist the first beginnings of sin ! If we yield 
lO one temptation, Satan will assault us 
with more and stronger. Peter proceeded 
from a bare denial, first to perjury, then to 
cursing and imprecation. Observe, 4. 
The aggravating circumstances attending 
this sin of Peter, and they are these : 1 . 
The character of the person thus falling : 
a disciple, an apostle, a chief apostle, a 
special favourite ; who, with James and 
John, had the special honour to be with 
Christ upon mount Tabor ; Peter, who had 
preached and prophesied in Christ's nan)e, 
cast out devils, and wrought miracles by 
Christ's power, yet he denies him. 2. Con- 
sider the person whom he denies : his 
Master, his Saviour, and Redeemer ; he 
that had washed Peter's feet but a little be- 
fore ; that eat the passover with Peter, and 
gave the sacrament to Peter ; yet this kind 
and condescending Saviour was denied by 



Peter. 3. Consider before whom he de- 
nies him : in the company and presence of 
the chief priests, scribes, and elders, and 
their servants, who rejoiced at it, and were 
hardened by it ; that one disciple should 
sell him for money, and another disciple 
deny him through fear. 4. Consider the 
time when he denied him ; verily it was 
but a few hours after he had received the 
sacrament of the Lord's supper from Christ's 
own hand. How unreasonable then is 
their objection against coming to the Lord's 
table, because some that go to it dishonour 
Christ as soon as they come from it ! Such 
examples must not discourage us from com- 
ing to the ordinance, but excite and in- 
crease our watchfulness after we have been 
there, to take heed that the future conduct 
of our lives be suited to the solemnity of a 
sacramental table. 5. Consider the small- 
ness of his temptation to deny Christ ; a 
damsel only put the question to him. Art 
thou not one of his disciples ?- If a band 
of armed soldiers had appeared to him, and 
afll:ightfcd him, had he been terrified by the 
high priest's threatenings, bound and led 
away to judgment, sentenced to an igno- 
minious, painful death, some excuse might 
have been made for him : but to disown 
his relation to Christ at the question of a 
maid-servant that kept the door only, the 
smallness of the temptation was an aggra- 
vation of the crime ! " Ah, Peter, how un- 
like thyself art thou at this time? Not a 
rock, but a reed ; a pillar blown down by 
a woman's breath ! O frail humanity, 
whose strength is weakness and infirmity !" 
Observe here. That in most of the saints' 
falls recorded in scripture, either the first 
enticers, or the accidental occasions, were 
women. Thus in Adam's, Lot's, Samson's, 
David's, Solomon's, and Peter's. A weak 
creature may be a strong tempter ; nothing 
is too impotent or useless for the devil's 
service. It was a great aggravation of 
Peter's sin, that the voice of a maid, a door- 
keeper only, should be stronger to overcome 
him than his faith in Jesus to sustain him. 
But what shall we say ? Small things are 
sufficient to cast us down, if God doth not 
hold us up : we sink under any burden, if 
he sustain us not, and yield to every temp- 
tation, if he leave us to ourselves. A dam- 
sel shall then make a disciple shrink, and a 
door-keeper is enough to drive an apostle 
before her. And immediately the cock 
crctv. And Peter remembered the -words 
of Jesus, which said unto him. Before 
the cock crow, thou shalt denu vie thrice^ 



Chap. XXVI. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



147 



And he went out and wept bittcrli/. Here 
we have an account of St. Peter's rising and 
recovery after his shameful fall, by a renew- 
ed act and exercise of repentance. Where 
observe. The suddenness of his repentance, 
the means of his repentance, and the man- 
ner of it. Observe, 1 . The suddenness of 
his repentance : although his sin was great, 
yet his repentance was speedy and without 
delay. From whence note. That sins com- 
mitted by the surprisai of a sudden tempta- 
tion, are much sooner repented of, than 
where the sin is presumptuous and delibe- 
rate. David's sin ot murder and adultery 
were presumptuous and deliberate sins ; he 
continued a long time in them, and lived 
almost a twelvemonth without any solemn 
repentance of them. St. Peter's sin was 
hasty and sudden, under a violent passion 
of tear, contrary to his settled purpose and 
resolution of constancy ; and he takes the 
warning of the second crowing of the cock, 
and goes forth to express his repentance. 
Observe, 2. The means of his repentance, 
which was twofold. Less principal, the 
crowing of the cock ; more principal, 
Christ's looking upon Peter, and Peter's re- 
membering the words of Christ. 1. The 
less principal means of St. Peter's repent- 
ance, was the crowing of the cock : as the 
voice of the maid occasioned him to sin, 
so the voice of the cock occasioned him 
to repent.* That God who can work with- 
out means, doth sometimes work by weak, 
and contemptible means, and when he 
pleases can open the mouth of a bird or 
beast for the conversion of a man. But 
why should our Saviour choose the crow- 
ing of a cock as a mean to bring St. Peter 
to repentance > There is ever some mystery 
in Christ's instruments ; the cock was a 
preacher to call Peter to repentance, there 
being something of emblem between the 
cock and a preacher. A true minister 
must have the wings of a cock to rouse up 
himself from security, and to awaken others 
to a sense of their duty. He must have 
the watchfulness of a cock, to be ever ready 
to discover and forewarn danger. He must 
have the voice of a cock, to crt/ aloud 
and tell Israel of their sin, and terrify 
tlie roaring lion, and make him tremble. 
In a word, he must observe the hours of 
the cock, to crow at all seasons of the 
night, to preach in season and out of 
season the glad tidings of salvation. But, 
2. The more principal means of St. Peter's 
recovery, was, 1. Christ's looking upon 

• Bp. Reynolds on St. Peter's Fall. 



Peter. Christ first looks upon Peter with 
an eye of mercy, grace, and pity, before 
Peter looks upon his sin in order to repent- 
ance. Here take notice of the greatness of 
Christ's grace, of his wonderful love and 
mercy to his poor disciple. When our Sa- 
viour was upon his trial for his life, a time 
when our thoughts are wholly taken up 
about ourselves : even then did Christ find 
leisure to think upon Peter, remember to 
turnabout, and give him a pititul but pierc- 
ing look 5 a look that melted his heart, and 
dissolved it into tears. We never begin to 
lament for sin, till we are first lamented by 
our Saviour. Jesus looked upon Peter. 
That is the first more principal means of 
Peter's repentance. The second is, Peter's 
remembering tlie words of Christ, Before 
the cock crow twice thou slialt deny me 
thrice. This remembrance of Christ's words 
was an applicative and feeling remembrance 
of them. He remembered the prediction 
of Christ, and applies it sensibly to himself. 
Teaching us, That the efficacy of Christ's 
word, in order to the bringing of a soul 
unto repentance, depends not upon the 
historical remembrance of it, but upon the 
close application of it to every man's con- 
science. A sanctified remembrance of 
Christ's words, and our own sins, is an ex- 
cellent preparative to repentance. Observe 
lastly. The manner of Peter's repentance : 
it was secret, he went out ; it was sincere, 
he wept bitterly ; it was lasting and abid- 
ing all the days of his life, and attended 
with an extraordinary zeal and forwardness 
for the service of Christ to the end of his 
life. 1. It was secret, he went out ; Vere 
dolct, qui sine teste dolet. He sought a 
place of retirement where he might moura 
in secret ; he cannot well be thought to 
dissemble his grief, who chooses no other 
witness but the omnipresent God. Soli- 
tariness is most agreeable to an afHicted spi- 
rit ; and as St. Peter's sorrow caused him 
to go forth, so might also his shame. 
Christ looked upon Peter, but how ashamed 
must Peter be to look upon Christ, con- 
sidering that he so lately denied to have 
ever seen him ! 2. His repentance was sin- 
cere, he wept bitterli/ ; his grief was ex- 
traordinary, and his tears abundant. There 
is ever a weeping that follows sin ; sin 
must cost the soul sorrow, either here or 
in hell ; we must mourn awhile, or la- 
ment for ever. Doubtless with Peter's 
tears there was joined hearty confession of 
sin to God, and smart reflections upon 
himself after this manner : " Lord, what 
L 2 



148 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. XXVn. 



have I done ? I that did once acknowledge 
my Master to be Christ the Son of the 
living God, have since denied him with 
oaths, curses, and imprecations. I that 
promised to lay down my lite for his sake, 
have yet disowned and denied him at the 
voice of a damsel. O what unfaithful- 
ness, what weakness, what wretchedness! 
O that my head were waters, and mine 
eyes a fountain of tears, that I might 
weep all my days for the fault of this one 
night !" Blessed indeed are the tears of 
a converted revolter, and happy is the 
very misery of a mournful offender. 3. 
This holy man's repentance was lasting 
and abiding; he had a lively sense and 
remembrance of this sin upon his soul all 
his life. Ecclesiastical history reports, 
that ever after, when St. Peter heard the 
crowing of a cock, he fell upon his knees 
and mourned ; others say, that he was 
wont to rise at midnight, and spend the 
time in penitent devotion between cock- 
crowing and day-light. And the Papists, 
who love to turn every thing into super- 
stition, began that practice of setting a cock 
upon the top of towers, and steeples, and 
chimneys, to put the people in mind of this 
sin of Peter, and his repentance, by that 
signal. Lastly, St. Peter's repentance was 
attended with an extraordinary zeal and 
forwardness for the service of Christ to the 
end of his life. He had an earnest love 
towards Christ, T/iou that knoxvcst all 
things, knowest that I love thee : and 
as an evidence of it, he fed Christ's sheep ; 
for in the Acts of the Apostles, we read 
of his extraordinary diligence to spread 
the gospel, and his travels in order there- 
unto are computed to be nine hundred 
and fifty miles : and the wisdom of God 
thougiit fit that this apostle should preach 
the gospel to the Jews, as St. Paul did 
to the Gentiles ; that as he had joined 
with the Jews in denying and disowning 
Christ, so he should endeavour to persuade 
them to join with him in repentance, as he 
had joined with them in their sin. His sin 
was in some respect like theirs, therefore 
he is sent to preach the gospel to them, 
and his diligence therein is an undoubted 
proof and evidence of his repentance. Have 
any of us fallen with Peter, though not 
with a formal abjuring, yet by a prac- 
tical denying, of him, let us go forth and 
weep with him; let us be more vigilant 
and watchful over ourselves for the time 
to come ; let us express more extraordi- 
nary love unto and zeal for Christ, more 



diligence in his service, and more con- 
cernedness for his honour and glory. This 
would be an happy improvement of this 
example. The Lord giant it may have 
that blessed effect. Amen. 

CHAP. xxvn. 

\1/'HEN the monung was come, 
all the chief priests and el- 
ders of the people took counsel 
against Jesus to put him to death. 
2 And when they had bound him, 
they led him away, and delivered 
him to Pontius Pilate the governor. 

The foregoing chapter gives us an ac- 
count of Judas his treason, in delivering 
our Saviour into the hands of the chiei 
priests. In this chapter we find our holy 
Lord brought by the chief priests unto 
Pontius Pilate the Roman governor, in 
order to his arraignment and condemna- 
tion. Whence observe. That it has been 
the old policy of corrupt church-gover- 
nors to abuse the power of the civil ma- 
gistrate, in executing iheir cruel and un- 
just censures upon holy and innocent per- 
sons. The chief priests and elders do not 
kill our Saviour themselves, but they de- 
liver him over to the secular power, and 
desire Pilate, the civil magistrate, to sen- 
tence and condemn him ; which soon 
after we shall find he did. Thei/ bound 
him, and led him away : but what need 
was there of binding him, that never made 
any resistance ? And O, what ingratitude 
was it to bind him with cords, who came 
to unloose those bands of sin wherewith 
we were bound. 

3 Then Judas, which had betray- 
ed him, when he saw that he was 
condemned, repented himself, and 
brought again the thirty pieces of 
silver to the chief priests and el- 
ders, 4 Saying, I have sinned 
in that I have betrayed the inno- 
cent blood. And they said. What 
is that to us ? see thou to that. 
5 And he cast down the pieces 
of silver in the temple, and de- 
parted, and went and hanged him- 
self. 

Here we have a sad relation of Judas's 
desperate death, after an hypocritical life, 
as also of the horror of his mind and con- 



Chap. XXVII. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



149 



science before his death. Observe here, 
1. The time when Judas repented ; after 
it was too late. W/ien he sa-& that he was 
condeiiuud, he rvpenicil. Leani thence, 
That they that will not see their sins timely 
to their conversion, shall see them sooner 
or later to their confusion. Observe, 2. 
The repentance itself, in the several parts 
and branches of it : he was sorrowful for 
the fact, he made confession of his sin, 
and made restitution for the wrong done. 
lie repented, sai/ing, I have sinned ; and 
cast down the thirtj/ pieces of silver. 
Learn thence. That a wicked man, when 
conscience is thoroughly awakened, may 
make confession of his sin, express some 
sorrow for it, and endeavour also the 
making of some satisfaction and restitu- 
tion for the wrong and injury done by it. 
They that mourn for sin as sin ^ they that 
mourn more for the intrinsic evil that is in 
sin, than for the penal and consequential 
evils that follow sin ; they that confess sin 
voluntarily and freely, particularly, peni- 
tently, believingly, with an eye of sorrow 
upon their sin, and an eye of faith fixed 
upon their Saviour; they that make resti- 
tution as an act of obedience to the com- 
mand of God, and as an act of justice and 
righteousness to their neighbour ; such per- 
sons' repentance shall find acceptance with 
God. Observe, 3. The answer and reply 
which the wicked high priests and elders 
make to despairing Judas. 1. They ex- 
cuse themselves, ]Vhat is that to us '* It 
is natural to all sinners to shift sin from 
themselves, and to lay it at any door 
rather than their own. Those that have 
had a share in the pleasure and profit of 
sin, are yet very desirous to throw the 
odium and guilt of it upon others. What 
IS that to us ? say these monsters in sin. 
O wonderful stupidity .' could they think 
it nothing to them to hire a man to betray 
innocent blood ? Was not the money 
given the price of blood, and the field they 
bought called the field of blood ? yet do 
they impudently say. What is that to us ? 
2. As they excuse and acquit themselves, 
so they load and burden him : hook thou 
to that. Lord ! what miserable comfor- 
ters are companions in sin to one another, 
when distress and sorrow comes upon them ! 
When sin comes to be questioned in order to 
its being punished, every sinner isforshifting 
for himself, and leaves his fellow in the lurch. 
Let us then remember the w^rds of the Holy 
Ghost, He that walketh with wise men 
shall be wise, 6ut a companion of fools 



shall be destroyed. How jolly soever sin- 
ners are together, when in the height of their 
lusts ; they are but miserable comforters to 
one another upon a sick bed, or under the 
lashes of an awakened conscience. But 
though they may avoid each other now, 
there is a time coming when it will be im- 
possible ; at the great day the sinner 
shall see both his companions in sin, and 
his sins themselves, to be what he would 
never believe them here, the vilest of mon- 
sters. Observe, 4. The sad and fatai end 
of Judas ; he went forth and hansred him- 
self. Horror and despair took hold upon 
him, and seized his conscience ; which was 
so intolerable, that he ran to the halter for 
a remedy. Learn hence, \. That con- 
science is a powerful though invisible exe- 
cutioner ; the wrath of man may be en- 
dured, but the wrath of God is insupporta- 
ble, and the eruptions of conscience are ir- 
resistible. O how intolerable are those 
scourges that lash us in this tender and vital 
part ! Judas awakened with the horror of 
his fact, conscience begins to rouse, and 
the man is unable to bear up under the fu- 
rious revenge of his own mind. There is 
an active principle in men's breasts and bo- 
soms, which seldom suffers daring sinners 
to pass in quiet to their graves. Guilt is 
naturally troublesome and uneasy ; it dis- 
turbs the peace and serenity of the mind, ^ 
and fills the soul with storms and tiiunder, 
both in life and death. How vainly did 
Judas hope to take sanctuary in a grave, 
and to meet with that ease in another world 
which he could not find in this! Thus 
ended this miserable man, Judas, Be- 
hold ! ye professors of religion, the terrible 
example of God's justice on a deceitful hy- 
pocrite. Behold ! a disciple, an apostle, 
first a traitor, and then a self-murderer. 
Behold ! all ye covetous worldlings, to 
what the love of that accursed idol has 
brought this wretched apostle. Behold ! 
Judas, once shining in the robes of a glo- 
rious profession, now shining in the flames 
of God's eternal wrath and vengeance. 
Lord ! how earnest ought we to be for thy 
preserving grace, when neither the presence, 
the miracles, the sermons, the sacraments 
of Christ, could preserve and secure a pro- 
fessor, a disciple, and apostle, from the fatal 
mischief of a ruinous apostasy ! Let him 
that standcth take heed lest he fall. 

6 And the chief priests took the 
silver pieces, and said. It is not 
lawful for to put them into the 



150 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. XXVir. 



treasury, because it is the price of much that the governor marvelled 
blood. 7 And they took counsel, greatly. 



and bought with them the potter's 
field, fo bury strangers in. 8 
Wherefore that field was called, The 
field of blood, unto this day, 9 
Then was fulfilled that which was 
spoken by Jeiemv the prophet, say- 
ing, And they loik the thirty pieces 
of silver, the price of hiuj that was 
valued, whom they of the children 
of Israel did value ; 10 And gave 
them for the potter's field, as the 
Lord appointed me. 

Observe here, 1. The niceness and scru- 
pulosity of these hypocrites : they made no 
scruple to give money to shed blood, but 
they scruple the puttmg thnt money into 
the treasury which was the price of blood. 
They are afraid to defile their treasury, 
but are not afraid to pollute their souls. 
Thus hypocrites stri'in at a g/iat, and 
swdHoxc a camel ; scruple a ceremony, but 
make no conscience of murder and perjury. 
Observe, 2. The use which they put this 
money to, which Judas brought them : 
they bought witii it a field to bury strangers 
in. Thus Christ, who was himself u Stranger 
in a borrowed grave, by the price of his 
blood (being thirty pieces of silver) con- 
ferred graves on many strangers. Ob- 
serve lastly, How the wisdom of God 
ordered it, that hereby a scripture-prophecy 
might be fulfilied, Zech. xi. 13. Thei/ 
•weighed for mii price thirty pieces of 
siloer, and I took and cast them unto the 
potter. Whence learn, That all the in- 
dignities and abasing sufferings which the 
Lord Jesus underwent, were not only fore- 
ordained by God, but also foretold by the 
holy prophets ; his being scourged, buf- 
feted, spit upon, and here his being sold 
for thirty pieces of silver. 

11 And Jesus stood before the 
governor : and the q;(>vernor asked 



Observe here, 1. That our Saviour 
readily answers Pilate, but refuses to an- 
swer the chief priests before Pilate. Pilate 
asks him. Art thou the King of the 
Jews? Jesus readily answers. Thou saycst : 
or. It is as thou sayest. But to all the 
accusations of the chief priests, and to all 
that they laid to his charge before Pilate, 
our Saviour answers never a word : pro- 
bably for these reasons ; because his inno- 
cency was such as needed no apology j 
because their calumnies and accusations 
were so notoriously false, that they needed 
no confutation ; to show his contempt of 
death, and to teach us by his own example 
patience and silence, when for his sake 
we are slandered and traduced. Learn 
thence, That although we are not obliged 
to answer every captious and ensnaring 
question, nor to refute every slander and 
false accusation, yet we are bound faith- 
fully to own and confess the truth, when 
we are solemnly called thereunto. Our 
Saviour, as a deaf man, hears not, answers 
not, the calumnies of the chief priests ; but 
when Pilate asks him, Art thou the King 
of the Jews 'f or, as St. Mark has it, Art 
thou the Son of the Blessed ? Jesus said, 
I am ; though he knew that answer would 
cost him his life. Hence the apostle, 1 
Tim. vi. 13. says, That Christ before 
Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confeS' 
sion. Teaching us, sometimes to hold 
our peace when our reputation is con- 
cerned ; but never to be silent when the 
honour of God, the glory of his truth, the 
edification and confirmation of others, may 
effectually be promoted by our open con- 
fession : then must we with Christ give a 
direct, plain, and sincere answer. For 
whoever denies him, or any truth of his, 
knowingly and wilfully, hi>n will Christ 
den?/ in the presence of his Father, and 
before all his holy angels. 

15 Now at that feast the govei- 

nor was wont to release unto the 

hitn, saying, Art thou the king of people a prisoner, whom they would. 



the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, 
Thou sayest. 12 And when he was 
accused of the chief priests and 
elders, he an«^wered nothinsf. 13 
Then saith Pilate unto him, Hearest 
thou not how many things they wit- 
ness against thee ? 14 And he 
answered him to never a word ; inso- 



16 And they had then a notable 
prisoner, called Barabbas. 17 There- 
fore, when they were gathered toge- 
ther, Pilate said unto them, Whom 
will ye that I release unto you ? Ba- 
rabbas, or Jesns which is called 
Christ ? 18 For he knew that for 
envy they had delivered him. 



Chap. XXVII. 

Now at the feast, that is, at the feast 
of the passover, which by way of eminence 
is called the feast, the governor used to 
release a prisoner; (possibly by way of 
memorial of their deliverance out of 
Egypt ;) accordingly Pilate makes a mo- 
tion to them, that Christ may be the 
prisoner set at liberty in honour at their 
feast ; for he was sensible that what they 
did was out of envy and malice. As 
covetousness sold Christ, so envy delivered 
him. Envy is a killing and murderous 
passion : Envji slayeth the silli/ one. Job 
V. 2. That is. It slays the silly person who 
harbours this pestilent lust in his bosom, 
and is like a fire in his bones continually 
preying upon him, causing him to pine 
away, and die miserably, because another 
lives happily. To envy another man's 
prosperity, is an argument of the worst 
simplicity ; yea, farther, as envy slayeth 
the silly one, so it prompts and provokes 
the sinner to seek the slaying of simple and 
innocent ones. Envy wishes the envied 
person out of the way, yea, out of the 
world ; and, if need be, will not only wish 
it, but lend a lift towards it too ; witness 
the chief priests here, whose envy was so 
conspicuous, that Pilate himself takes no- 
tice of it, and says. He knew that for envy 
they had delivered him. 

19 When he Avas set down on the 
judgment-seat, his wife sent unto 
him, saying. Have thou nothing to 
do with that just man; for I have 
suffered many things this day in a 
dream because of him. 

There are several sorts or kinds of dreams, 
natural, moral, diabolical, and divine. 
The question is what kind of dream was 
this ? Not natural, all agree ; some think 
it was diabolical, and that Satan hoped 
thereby to prevent the work of man's 
redemption by the death of Christ. But 
if so, why had not Pilate the dream rather 
than his wife ? Probably this was from 
God, for even our very dreams are ordered 
by God; our sleeping as well as our 
waking times are in God's hand. Learn 
hence, How wonderfully the wisdom and 
power of God is seen in this woman's 
testimony, which she gave to the innocence 
of our Saviour. When all his disciples 
were fled fiom him, when none of his 
friends durst speak a word for him, God 
raises up a woman, a stranger, a pagan, to 
give evidence of his ianocency. And it 



ST. MATTHEW. 



151 



is observable, that at our Saviour's trial 
not one mouth was opened to plead or 
speak a word for him, in defence of in- 
nocency itself, but only Pilate's and his 
wife's ; they both pronounced him right- 
eous, though they were Gentiles and 
pagans, whilst his own kindred and 
countrymen, the Jews, thirst after his 
righteous and innocent blood. 

20 But the chief priests and elders 
persuaded the multitude that they 
should ask Barabbas, and destroy 
Jesus. 21 The governor answered 
and said unto them, Whether of 
the twain will ye that I release unto 
you ? They said, Barabbas. 22 
Pilate saith unto them. What shall 
I do then with Jesus, which is called 
Christ ? They all say unto him. 
Let him be crucified. 23 And the 
governor said, Why ? what evil hath 
he done ? But they cried out the 
more, saying, Let him be crucified. 

Observe here, 1. How exceedingly 
unwilling and averse Pilate was to be the 
instrument of our Saviour's death ; one 
while he bids the Jews take him themselves, 
and judge him according to their law ; 
another while he offers to save Christ in 
honour of their feast, when by custom he 
was to release a prisoner, and this prisoner 
he desired might be Jesus. When this 
would not satisfy, he expostulates with 
them about our Saviour's innocency. What 
evil has he done ? Nay, St Luke says, 
chap, xxiii. That Pilate came forth three 
til/Its, and professed that he found no 
fault in him. Yet though Pilate was 
satisfied, the Jews would not be denied. 
Thence learn. That wicked men and hy- 
pocrites, within the visible church, may be 
guilty of such tremendous acts of wicked- 
ness, as the conscience of infidels and pa- 
gans without the church may boggle at, 
and protest against. Pilate, a pagan, 
absolves Christ, whilst hypocritical Jews, 
which had heard his doctrine, and seen 
his miracles, condemn him. But observe, 
2. Who influenced the main body of the 
Jews to desire Barabbas, and to destroy 
Jesus. It was the chief priests and ciders, 
they persuaded the inultitude. Woe to 
the people when their guides and leaders 
are corrupt ; for then they shall be tempted 
by wicked counsel ; and woe unto them, 
much more, if they follow their wicked , 



152 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. XXVII. 



and pernicious counsels. Thus did the 
Jews follow their guides the chief priests, 
till they had preserved Barabbas and 
destroyed Jesus. 

24 When Pilate saw that he could 
prevail nothing, but that rather a 
tuniult was made, he toi)k water, 
and wash<d his hands before the 
multitude, saying, I am innocent of 
the blood of this just person : see 
ye to it. 

Two things are here observable in Pi- 
late's washing of his hands. 1. By this 
action he pronounces our Saviour's inno- 
cency, and was willing thereby to testify 
his own, (hat he did not consent to our Sa- 
viour's death ; wasliing the hands being a 
usual ceremony in protestation of a person's 
innocency. But, 2. It was great folly and 
madness in Pilate, to think that washing of 
his hands did or could free him from the 
guilt of innocent blood. " O Pilate ! thou 
hadst need rub hard if thou meaiiest to 
scour from thy soul the guilt of that crim- 
son sin which thou ha^t committed ; thy 
guilt cleaves so close unto thee, tliat nothing 
can expiate it but the blood which thou 
hast spilt." Neither was it any excuse of 
Pilate's sin, that what he did was to please 
the people, and.to gratify their importunity. 
It is a fond apology lor sins, when persons 
pretend they were not committed with 
their own consent, but at others' instiga- 
tion and irtiportunity. 

25 Then answered all the peo- 
ple, and said, His blood he on us, 
and on our children. 

That is, " Let the guilt and punishment 
of his blood rest upon us and our posterity." 
A n*ost horrid and impious imprecation ! 
The dreadful alfects of it began to come 
upon them forty years after in the destruc- 
tion of Jerusalem, and has rested and re- 
mained upon their posterity to this day, 
near seventeen hundred years ; the Jews 
being vagabonds over the earth, abhorred 
by all nations wheresoever they come. 
The just God has heard their wicked wish, 
and caused that blood to ilill upon them in so 
severe, though righteous, a manner, as must 
pierce the heart of those that read and ob- 
serve it. God has given them blood to 
drink, as indeed they were worthy. This 
ought to be a terror and a warning to all 
persons, that they avoid all cursed impre- 
cations, and wicked wishes, upon them- 



selves or others. Woe to such as wish 
damnation to themselves, pox and plague 
upon others. How if God say Amen, 
and ratifies in heaven thy cursed impre- 
cations made on earth, as he did this of 
the wicked Jews ; His blood be on us and 
on our children ! Yet what they with a 
wicked mind put up as a direful impreca- 
tion, we may with a pious mind offer up to 
God as an humble petition ; Lord, let thy 
Son's blood, not in the guilt and punish- 
ment, but in the efficacy and merit of it, 
be upon us, and upon our posterity after 
us, for evermore. 

26 Then released he Barabbas 
unto them : and when he had 
scourged Jesus, he delivered him to 
be crucified. 

As the death of the cross was a Ro- 
man punishment, so it was the manner of 
the Romans first to scourge and wlnp their 
maleiactors, and then deliver them to be 
crucified. Now the manner of the Romans' 
scourging is said to he thus : they stripped 
the condemned person, and bound him to a 
post ; two strong men fir?.t scourged him 
with rods of thorns ; then two others 
scourged him with whips of cords full of 
knots : and, lastly, two more with whips 
of wire, and therewith tore off the very 
flesh and skin from the perso..'s back and 
sides. That our Saviour was thus cruelly 
scourged, seems to some not improbable 
from that of the psalmist, Psal. cxxix. 3. 
The plouo^hcrs ploughed upon mi/ back, 
and made long furrows. Which, if spoken 
prophetically of Christ, was literally ful- 
filled in the day of his scourging. But 
why was the precious body of our precious 
Lord thus galled and torn with scourgmgs ? 
Doubtless to fulfil that prophecy ; 1 gave 
my back to the smitcrs, and my checks to 
them that plucked off the hair. — That by 
his stripes toe might be healed. And to 
learn us patience from his example ; Why 
should we think it strange to be scourged 
either with the tongue or the hand, or with 
both, when we see our dear Redeemer 
bleeding by stripes and scourges before our 
eyes ? 

27 Then the soldiers of the go- 
vernor took Jesus into the common 
hall, and gathered unto him the 
whole band of soldiers. 28 And, 
they stripped him, and put on him 
a scarlet robe. 29 And wilien they 
had platted a crown of thorns, they 



Chap. XXVII. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



153 



put it upon his head, and a reed in 
his right hand : and they bowed the 
knee before him, and mocked him, 
sa\ing. Hail, King of the Jews ! 30 
And they spit upon him, and took 
the reed, and smote him on the head. 
31 And after that tliey had mocked 
him, they took the robe oft' from 
him, and put his own raiment on 
him, and led him away to crucify 
him. 

The next part of our Lord's sufferings 
consisted of cruel mockings. Our blessed 
Saviour had said that he was the King of 
the Jews ; not a temporal king to reign 
over them with pomp and power, but a 
spiritual King, to rule in the hearts of his 
people : but the Jews, missing of their ex- 
pectation of a temporal king in Christ, look 
upon him as an impostor ; and accordingly 
they treat him as a mock king, putting a 
crown upon his head, but a very ignomi- 
nious and painful one, a crown of thorns ; 
a sceptre ni his hand, but it was of a reed, 
and a robe of purple or scarlet, both 
which were used by piinces, and Solved 
the knee before limi, as they were wont to 
do to princes. Thus all the marks ot scorn 
imaginable are put upon our blessed Re- 
deemer . yet that which they did in jest 
God did in earnest; for all these things 
were ensigns and marks of sovereignty ; 
and Almighty God caused the regal dignity 
of his Son to appear and shine forth, even 
in the midsl of his greatest abasement. 
Whence was all this jeering and sport, but 
to flout majesty ? And why did Christ 
undergo all this ignominy, disgrace, and 
shame, but to show us what was due unto 
us for our sins, and to give us an example 
to bear all the scorn, reproach, and shame 
imaginable, for his sake : Who, for the 
joy that was set before him, endured the 
cross, and despised the shame. 

32 And as they came out, they 
found a man of Cyrene, Simon by 
name : him they compelled to bear 
his cross, 33 And when they were 
come unto a place called Golgotha, 
that is to sav, A place of a scull, 
34 Tliev gave him vinegar to drink 
niin<iled with gall : and when he 
had tasted thereof, he would not 
drink. 85 And they crucified him, 
and parted his garments, casting 



lots ; that it might be fulfilled 
which was spoken by the proj)het, 
They parted my garments among 
them, and upon my vesture did they 
cast lots. 36 And sitting down, 
they \vatch<=d him there; 

The sentence of death being passed by 
Pilate, who can with dry eyes behold 
the sad pomp of our Saviour's bloody ex- 
ecution ? Forth comes the blessed Jesus 
out of Pilate's gates bearing that cross 
which was soon after to bear him. With 
his cross on ^is shoulder he marches to- 
wards Golgotha : and when they see he 
can go no faster, they force Simon the 
Cyrenoan, not out of compassion, but from 
indignation, to be the porter of his cross. 
This Cyrenian being a Gentile, not a Sew, 
who bare our Saviour's cross, might sig- 
nify and show, that the Gentiles should 
have a part in Christ, and be sharers with 
the Jews in the benefits of his cross. At 
length Christ comeS' to the place of 
execution, Golgotha, or mount Calvary. 
Here in a public place, with infamous 
company, betwixt two thieves, he is cru- 
cified ; that is, fastened to a great cross of 
wood, his hands stretched forth abroad, 
and his feet close together, and both hands 
and feet fastened with nails ; his naked 
body was lifted up in the open air, hanging 
betwixt heaven and earth ; thereby inti- 
mating, that the crucified person was unfit 
,to live in either. This shameful, painful, 
and accursed death, did the holy and in- 
nocent Jesus undergo for sinners. Some 
observe all the d imensions of length, breadth, 
depth, and height, in our Saviour's suf- 
ferings : for length, his passion was several 
hours long, from twelve to three, exposed 
all that time both to hunger and cold ; the 
thieves crucified with him were not dead 
so soon ; they endured but personal pain, 
he undergoing the miseries of all mankind.. 
But what his passion wanted in length, it 
had it in breadth, extending over all the 
parts and powers of his soul and body, no 
part free but his tongue, which was at 
liberty to pray for his enemies. His sight 
was tormented with Ihc scornful gestures 
of such as passed hi/, xoatririnii: their heads ; 
his hearing grieved with the taunts and 
jeers of the priests and people ; his smel- 
hng offended with the noisome savours in 
the Place of Skulls ; his taste, with the 
gall and vinegar given him to drink. His 
feeling was wonderfully affected by the 
nails which pierced his hands and feet, 



154 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. XXVII. 



and the crown of thorns which pierced his 
tender temples with a multiphcity of 
wounds. And for the depth of his passion, 
it was as deep as hell itself; enduring 
tortures in his soul, as well as torments in 
his body ; groaning under the burden of 
desertion, and crying out, Afy God, 
7/11/ God, w/i!/ hast thou forsaken mc ? 
Lastly, for the height of his sutferings, 
they were as high as heaven ; his person 
bemg innocent and infinite, no less than 
the Son of God, which adds an infinite 
worth and value to his sufferings, hord, 
let us be able to comprehend ivlth all saints 
•what is the breadth and length, depth 
and height, and let us knoxo the love of 
Christ, xohich in suffering for us passeth 
knoxolcdge. So infinite every way were 
the dimensions of it. 

37 And set up over his head his 
accusation written, THIS IS JESUS 
THE KING OF THE JEWS. 

It was the manner of the Romans, when 
they crucified any man, to publish the 
cause of his death in capital letters placed 
over the head of the person. Now see how 
the wisdom and providence of God pow- 
erfully overruled the heart and pen of Pi- 
late to draw this title, which was truly ho- 
nourable, and fix it to his cross : Pilate 
is Christ's herald, and proclaims him. King 
of the Jexvs. Learn hence. That the regal 
dignity of Christ was proclaimed by an 
enemy, and that in a time of his greatest 
sufferings and reproaches, Pilate did 
Christ a special honour, and an eminent 
piece of service. He did that for Christ 
which none of his own disciples durst do : 
but he did it not designedly for his glory, 
but from the special overruling power of 
Divine Providence : but the highest services 
performed to Christ undesignedly, shall ne- 
ver be accepted nor rewarded by God. 

38 Then were there two thieves 
crucified with him ; one on the right 
hand, and another on the left. 39 
And they that passed by reviled him, 
wagging their heads, 40 And say- 
ing, Thou that destroyest the temple, 
and buildest it in three days, save 
thyself. If thou be the Son of God, 
come down from the cross. 41 Like- 
wise also the chief priests mocking 
him, with the scribes and elders, 
said, 42 He saved others, himself 
he cannot save. If he be the King 



of Israel, let him now come down 
from the cross, and we will believe 
him. 43 He trusted in God : let 
him deliver him now, if he will have 
him : for he said, I am the Son of 
God. 44 The thieves also which 
were crucified with him, cast the 
same in his teeth. 

Here we have several aggravations of our 
Lord's sufferings upon the cross. 1. From 
the company he suffered with, tiDo 
thieves. It had been disparagement enough 
to our blessed Saviour to have been sorted 
with the best of men ; but to be number- 
ed with the scum of mankind, is such an 
indignity as conibunds our thoughts. This 
was intended by the Jews to dishonour him 
the more, and to persuade the world that he 
was the greatest of offenders; but God 
overruled this that the scripture might be 
h\\?i\\eA, He xvas numbered uuth the trans- 
gressors. 2. Another aggravation of our 
Lord's sufferings on the cross, was, the 
scorn and mocking derision which he met 
with in his dying moments from the com- 
mon people, from the chief priests, and 
from the thieves that suffered with him. 
The common people both in words and 
actions expressed scorn and detestation 
against him. IViei/ reviled him, wagging 
their heads. The chief priests, though 
men of age and gravity, not only barba- 
rously mock him in his extremest misery, 
whom humanity obliged them to pity; 
but they scoff atheistically and profanely, 
jeering at his faith and affiance in God, 
tauntingly saying. He trusted in God that 
he -would deliver him ; let him deliver 
him noxi', if he will have hitn. Where 
observe. That persecutors are generally 
atheists, though they make a profession of 
religion. The chief priests and elders 
here, though learned and knowing men, 
yet they blaspheme God, mock at his 
power, and deride his providence, which 
was as bad as to deny his being. Hence 
we may gather. That those who adminis- 
ter to God in holy things by way of 
office, if they be not the best, they are 
the worst of men. No such bitter enemies 
to the power of godliness, as the ministers 
of religion who were never acquainted 
with the efiicacy and power of it in their 
own hearts and lives. Nothing on this 
side hell is worse than a wicked priest, a 
minister of God devoted to the service of 
the devil. A third aggravation of our Lord's 



ST. MAITIIEW. 



Chap. XXVIl. 

sufferings on the cross, was, that the thieves 
that suffered with him reviled him with 
the rest ; that is, one of them as St. Luite 
has it, or perhaps both of them, might do 
it at first. Which if so, increases the 
wonder of tlie penitent thief's conversion. 
From the thief's impenitency we learn. 
That neither shame nor pain will change 
the mind of a resolute sinner, but even then 
when he is in the very suburbs of hell, will 
he blaspheme. 

45 Now, from the sixth hour there 
was darkness over all the land unto 
the ninth hour. 4G And about the 
nintli hour Jesus cried with a loud 
voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabach- 
thani ? that is to say, My God, my 
God, why hast thou forsaken me? 
47 Some of them that stood there, 
when they heard that, said. This 
vian calleth for Elias. 48 And 
straightway one of them ran, and 
took a sponge, and filled it with 
vinegar, and put it on a reed, and 
gave him to drink. 49 The rest 
said, Let be, let us see whether Elias 
will come to save him. 50 Jesus, 
when he had cried again with a loud 
voice, yielded up the ghost. 

Observe here, 1. How the rays of Christ's 
divinity, and the glory of his Godhead, 
break out and shine forth in the midst of 
that infirmity which his human nature la- 
boured under. He shows himself to be the 
God of nature, by altering the course of 
nature. The sun is eclipsed, and darkness 
overspreads the earth tor fhree hours ; 
namely, from twelve o'clock to three. Thus 
the sun in the firmament becomes close 
mourner at our Lord's death, and the whole 
frame of nature puts itself into a funeralhabit. 
Observe, 2. That the chief of Christ's suf- 
ferings consisted in the sufferings of his soul ; 
the distress of his spirit was more intolerable 
than the torments of his body, as appears by 
his mournful complaint. Mi/ God, nii/ God, 
•will) hast thou forsaktn me? being the 
first words of the 22d Psalm ; and some 
conceive that he repeated that whole psalm, 
it being an admirable narrative of the dolours 
of his passion. Learn thence, That the 
Lord Jesus Christ, when suffering for our 
sins, was really deserted for a time, and left 
destitute of all sensible consolation. Whi/ 
hast thon fursahen me 'f Learn farther, 
that under this desertion Christ despaired 



155 



not, but still retained a firm persuasion 
of God's love unto him, and experienced 
necessary supports from him. My God, 
mi) God ; these are words of faith and af- 
fiance, striving under temptation. Christ 
was thus forsaken for us, that we might 
never be forsaken of God ; yet by God's 
forsaking of Christ, is not to be under- 
stood any abatement of divine love, but only 
a withdrawing from the human nature the 
sense of his love, and a letting out upon his 
soul a deep afflicting sense of his displeasure 
against sin. There is a total and eternal 
desertion, by which God utterly forsakes a 
man, both of his grace and glory, being 
wholly cast out of God's presence, and ad- 
judged to eternal torments; this was not 
compatible to Christ, nor agreeable to the 
dignity of his person. But tiiere is a partial 
and temporary desertion, when God for a 
little moment hides his face from his chil- 
dren : now this was both agreeable to the 
dignity of Christ's nature, and also suitable 
to his office, who was to satisfy the justice of 
God for our forsaking of him, and to bring 
us near to him, that we might be received 
for ever. Observe lastly. What a miraculous 
evidence Christ gave of his divinity instantly 
before he gave up the ghost. He cried 
with a loud voice. -This showed that he 
did not die according to the ordinary course 
of nature, gradually departing and drawing 
on, as we express it. No, his life was whole 
in him, and nature as strong at last as at first. 
Other men die gradually, and towards their 
end their sense of pain is much blunted ; 
thev faulter, fumble, and die by degrees; but 
Christ stood under the pains of death in his 
full strength; his life was whole in him. 
This was evident by the mighty outcry he 
made when he gave up the ghost, contrary 
to the sense and experience of all other per- 
sons; this argued him to be full of strength. 
And he that could cry with such a loud 
voice (in articulo jnortis) as he did, could 
have kept himself from dying if he would. 
Hence we learn. That when Clirist died, he 
rather conquered death, than was conquered 
by death. He must voluntarily and freely 
lay down his life, before death could come 
at him. He yielded up the frho^t. O 
wonderful sight! the Lord of life hangs dead, 
dead on the accursed tree. O severe and 
inexorable justice in God ! O amazing and 
astonishing love in Christ! love beyond 
expression, beyond conception, beyond all 
comprehension; with what comparison siiall 
we compare it ! Verily with nothing but 
itself; never was love like thine. 



156 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. XXVII. 



51 And, behold, the vail of the 
temple was rent in twain from the 
top to the bottom ; and the earth did 
quake, and the rocks rent ; 52 And 
the graves were opened ; and many 
bodies of the saints which slept 
arose, 53 And came out of the 
graves after his resurrection, and 
went into the holy city, and appeared 
unto many. 54 Now when the cen- 
turion, and they that were with him 
watchuig Jesus, saw the earthquake, 
and those things that were done, they 
feared greativ, saying. Truly this 
was the Son of God. 55 And many 
women were there, beholding afar 
oft, which followed Jesus from Gali- 
lee, ministering unto him ; 56 
Among which was Mary Magdalene, 
and Mary the mother of James and 
Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's 
children. 

Here we have an account of several extra- 
ordinary and wonderful tilings which oc- 
curred and fell out about the time that our 
Saviour died. 1. The vail of the temple 
rent asunder. That is, the hanging which 
parted the holy from the most holy place, 
to hide the mysteries therein, namely, the 
ark of the covenant and n^ercy-seat, from 
the view of the ordinary priests. This vail 
was now rent from the top to the bottom, 
and the rending of it did import these great 
mysteries: 1. That now our great High- 
Priest was entering into the most holy place 
witli his own blood, having made the atone- 
ment for us: Heb. ix. 12. By his own 
blond he entered once into the most holy 
place, having obtained eternal redemption 
for us. 2. That the means whereby he 
'entered into the most holy place, was by 
the rending of his humanity, his soul from 
his body, typified by rending of this vail; 
accordingly his body is called a vail, Heb. 
X. 20. Consecrated through the vail of 
hisfesh. 3. That now by the death of 
Christ all those dark mysteries vailed up 
formerly in the most holy place, as the ark 
of the covenant and mercy-seat, are now 
unfolded and laid open, and the use of the 
whole ceremonial law at an end, and the 
Jewish temple-service ceased. 4. That now 
the kingdom of heaven, the most holy place, 
is open to all believers. Christ, our great 
High Priest, is entered in wjth his own blood. 



and hath not closed the vail after him, but 
rent it asunder, and made and left a passage 
for all believers to follow him, first in their 
prayers, and next in their persons. See 
Heb. X. 19, 20. Having therefore boldness 
to enter intu the holiest by the blood of 
Jesus, by a new and living way, which he 
hath consecrated for us through the vail, 
that is to say, hisjlcsh ; let us draw near 
with a true heart, S)-c. Observe, 2. The 
earth quaked. As there was an universal 
eclipse, so likewise an universal earthquake, 
at our Lord's crucifixion, which did awaken 
many of the saints (that died before our 
Saviour's incarnation) out of their dead 
sleep. These arose both as witnesses of 
Christ's resurrection, and also as sharers in 
it. But none of them arose till Christ was 
risen, he being the First-fruits ofthc7n that 
slept. And those holy persons that arose 
with him, possibly attended him to heaven 
at his ascension. From hence we learn, 
That Christ was the Saviour of those who 
believed in him before his incarnation, as 
well as of those that believed in him since his 
incarnation ; and that the former are par- 
takers of the fruit and benefit of his death 
and resurrection, no less than the latter. 
Others conjecture, that those who rose out 
of their graves, were such as believed in 
Christ, and died before him, as old Simeon, 
&c. Accordingly they understand St. John 
V. 25. The hour is coming, and vow is, 
that the dead shall hear the voice of the 
Son of man, of this resurrection here men- 
tioned. And whereas it is said they went 
into the holy city, and appeared to many ; 
it is probable they were known to them 
unto whom they did appear ; and if so, they 
must have lived in the time of their know- 
ledge. Observe next, What influence and 
efi^ect the sight of those prodigious things 
had upon the centurion and the soldiers ; it 
convinced them, that verily this was the 
Son of God. Here, we see the heathen 
soldiers are sooner convinced of the divinity 
of Christ, than the unbelieving Jewish doc- 
tors. Obstinacy and unbelief filled their 
minds with an invincible prejudice against 
Christ ; so that neither the miracles done by 
him in his life, nor wrought at his death, 
could convince the high priests, that Christ 
was any other than an impostor and deceiver. 
Observe lastly. Who of Christ's friends were 
witnesses of his death : They arc women, 
who followed him from Galilee, and 
ininis'fercd unto him ; not one of his dear 
disciples, except St. John, who stood by 
the cross with the Virgin Mary. What a 



Chap. XXVII. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



lo7 



shame was this for the apostles to be absent 
from a spectacle upon which the salvation 
of the whole world did depend ; and what 
an honour was this to the female sex in 
general, and to these women in particular, 
that they had the courage to follow Christ 
to the cross, when all the disciples forsook 
him and fled ; God can make women glo- 
rious professors of his truth, and arm them 
against the fears of sulfenngs, contrary to 
the natural timorousness of their tempers. 
These women wait upon Christ's cross, when 
apostles fly, and durst not come near it. 

57 When the even was come, there 
came a rich man of Arimathea, nam- 
ed Joseph, who also himself was Je- 
sus' disciple : 58 He went to Pilate, 
and begged the body of Jesus. Then 
Pilate commanded the body to be 
delivered. 5J) And when Joseph 
had taken the body, he wrapped it 
in a clean linen cloth, 60 And laid 
it in bis own new tomb, which he had 
hewn out in the rock : and he rolled 
a great stone to the door of the se- 
pulchre, and departed. 61 And 
there was Mary Magdalene, and the 
other Mary, sitting over against the 
sepulchre. 

Here we have an account given of our 
Lord's funeral and interment in the grave : 
such a funeral as never was since graves 
were iirst digged. Concerning which we 
have these particulars observable : Observe, 
1. The preparatives that were made for 
our Lord's funeral ; namely, the begging 
and perfuming of his dead body ; his body 
could not be buried, till by begging it 
was obtained of Pilate ; the dead bodies 
of malefactors being in the power and 
disposal of the judge. Pilate grants it, 
and to manifest their dear affection to their 
dead Lord, they wrapt the body in fine 
linen with spices to perfume it. But 
what need of odours for that body which 
could not see corruption ? Though his 
holy body did not want them, yet the 
affections of his friends could not with- 
hold them. Observe, 2. The bearers that 
carried his body to the grave, or the per- 
sons concerned in solemnizing his funeral : 
Joseph of Arimathea, and Nicoderaus, two 
rich men, and two secret disciples. (1) 
They were rich men, senators, honourable 
counsellors ; and so that prophecy was 
fulfilled, Isa. liii. 9. He made his grave 



with the wicked, and with the rich, in his 
death. (2.) They were good men, as well 
as rich men ; disciples, though secretly, 
for fear of the Jews. Grace doth not 
always make a public and open show 
where it is. As there is much secret riches 
in the bowels of the earth which no eye 
ever saw, so there may be grace in the 
heart of a christian, which the world takes 
no notice of. We never heard any news 
of Joseph of Arimathea till now ; yet was 
he eminently rich, wise, and good : a 
worthy, though a close disciple. Much 
grace may be where little is seen. Some 
gracious persons cannot put forward and 
discover themselves like others, and yet 
such weak christians perhaps, when a trial 
comes, shall stand their ground, when 
stronger run away. — "We read of none of 
the apostles at Christ's funeral ; fear had 
chased them away, though they professed 
a readiness to die with Christ : but Joseph 
and Nicodemus appear boldly for him. 
Let it be a caution to strong christians, 
neither to glory in themselves, nor to glory 
over the weak. If God desert the strong, 
and assist the weak, the feeble shall be as 
David a?ul the strong as tow. Observe, 
3. The mourners that followed the hearse ; 
namely, the women that followed him out 
of Galilee, and particularly the two 
Maries : a very poor train of mourners, 
a few sorrowful women. Others are at- 
tended to their graves by their relations 
and friends ; but Christ's disciples were all 
scattered, and afraid to own him either 
dying or dead. Our blessed Lord affected 
no pomp or gallantry in his life, and it 
was no way suitable either to the end 
or manner of his death. Humiliation 
was designed in his death, and his burial 
was the lowest degree of his humiliation. 
Observe, 4. The grave or sepulchre in 
which they buried him ; it was in a gar- 
den. As by the sin of the first Adam we 
were driven out of the garden of pleasure, 
the earthly paradise ; so by the sufferings 
of the second Adam, who lay buried in 
a garden, we may hope for an entrance 
into the heavenly paradise. It was in a 
sepulchre hewn out of a rock ; that so his 
enemies might have no occasion to cavil, 
and say, that his disciples stole him away 
by secret holes, or unseen passages under 
ground. And it was in a new sepulchre, in 
which never any man was laid, lest his 
adversaries should say, it was some other 
that was risen, or that he rose from the 
dead by touching some other corpse. 



158 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. XXVII. 



Observe, 5. The manner of our Lord's fu- 
neral ; hastily, openly, decently celebrated. 
It was done in haste, by reason of the 
straits of time, the preparation for the pass- 
over caused them to be very expeditious ; 
the sabbath was approaching, and they lay 
all business aside to prepare for that. 
Learn hence. How much it is our duty to 
despatch our worldly business as early as 
we can towards the end of the week, that 
we may be the better prepared to sanctify 
the Lord's day, if we live to enjoy it. 
We ought to remember that day before it 
comes, and to sanctify it when it is come. 
Again, our Lord was buried openly, as 
well as hastily ; all persons had liberty 
to be spectators, that none might object 
there was any fraud or deceit used in or 
about his burial. He was also interred 
decently, his body wrapt in fine linen, and 
perfumed with odours, according to the 
Jewish custom, which used not to unbowel, 
but embalm their dead. Observe, 6. The 
reason why our Lord was buried, seeing 
he was to rise again in as short a time as 
other men lie by the walls ; and had his 
dead body remained a thousand years un- 
buried, it could have seen no corruption, 
having never been tainted with sin. Sin 
is the cause of the body's corruption, it is 
sin that makes our bodies stink worse than 
carrion when they are dead. A funeral 
then was not necessary for Christ's body 
upon the same accounts that it is necessary 
for ours. But, 1. He was buried to de- 
clare the certainty of his death, and the 
reality of his resurrection ; and for this 
reason did God's providence order it, that 
he should be embalmed, to cut otF all pre- 
tensions. For in this kind of embalming, 
his mouth, his ears, and his nostrils, were 
all filled with spices and odours, so that 
there could be no latent principle of life 
in him ; being thus buried then, declares 
him to be certainly dead. 2. He was bu- 
ried to fulfil the types and prophecies that 
went before concerning him. Jonas's be- 
ing three days and three nights in the belly 
of the whale, was a type of Christ's being 
three days and three nights in the heart of 
the earth ; and the prophet, Isa. liii. 9. 
had declared the m.anner of his funeral 
long before he was born. He made his 
grave ivith the wicked, and with the rich 
in his death. Pointing by that expression 
at this tomb of Josepli's, who was a rich 
man ; and the scriptures cannot be broken. 
3. He was buried to complete his humilia- 
tion ; Thri/ have brought me to the dust 



of death, says David, a type of Christ. 
This was the lowest step he could possibly 
descend in his abased state ; lower he could 
not be laid, and so low his blessed head 
must be laid, else he had not been hum- 
bled to the lowest. 4. He went into the 
grave that he might conquer death in its 
own territories and dominions. Christ's 
victory over the grave causes his saints 
to triumph, and sing, O grave, where is 
thy destruction ! Our blessed Lord has 
perfumed the bed of the grave by his own 
lying in it : so that a pillow of down is 
not so soft to a believer's head, as a 
pillow of dust. Observe lastly, of what 
use the doctrine of our Lord's burial may 
be unto us. \. For instruction ; here we 
see the amazing depths of our Lord's hu- 
miliation. From what, to what, his love 
brought him ; even from the bosom of 
his Father, to the bosom of a grave. Now 
the depth of his humiliation shows us the 
fulness and sufficiency of his satisfaction 
as well as the heinousness of our transgres- 
sion. 2. For consolation against the 
fears of death and the grave. The grave 
received Christ, but could not retain him. 
Death swallowed him up, as the fish did 
Jonas, but quickly vomited him up again ; 
so shall it fare with Christ mystical, as it 
did with Christ personal : the grave could 
not long keep him, it shall not for ever 
keep us : as his body rested in hope, so 
shall ours also ; and though they see cor- 
ruption, which he did not, yet shall they 
not always lie under the power of corrup- 
tion. In a word, Christ's lying in the 
grave has changed and altered the nature 
of the grave ; it was a prison before, a bed 
of rest now ; a loathsome grave l^efore, a 
perfumed bed now. He whose head is in 
heaven, need not fear to put his foot into 
the grave. Awake and sing, thou that 
dwcllest in the dust, for the enmity of 
the grave is slain by Christ. 3. For 
imitation ; let us study and endeavour to 
be buried with Christ, in respect of our 
sins : I mean, Rom. vi. 4. buried with 
him itito death. Our sins should be as a 
dead body, in several respects. Are dead 
bodies removed far from the society of 
men ? So should our sins be removed far 
from us. Do dead bodies in the grave 
spend and consume away by little and 
little ? So should our sins daily. Will 
dead bodies grow every day more and 
more loathsome to others ? So should our 
sins be to ourselves. Do dead bodies wax 
out of memory, and are quite forgotten ? 



Chap. XXVII. 



ST. MATTHEW. 



159 



So should our sins, in respect of any de- 
light that we take in remembering of them. 
We should always remember our sins to 
our humiliation ; but never think or speak 
of them with the least delight or satisfac- 
tion ; for this, in God's account, is a new 
commission of them, and lays us under 
an additional guilt. 

62 Now the next day, that fol- 
lowed the day of the preparation, 
the chief priests and Pharisees came 
together unto Pilate, 63 Saying, 
Sir, we remember that that deceiver 
said, while he was yet alive. After 
three days I will rise again. 64 
Conmiand therefore that the sepul- 
chre be made sure until the third 
day, lest his disciples come by night 
and steal him away, and say unto 
the people. He is risen from the 
dead : so the last error shall be 
worse than the first. 65 Pilate said 
unto them, Ye have a watch : go 
your way, make it as sure as ye 
can. 66 So they went, and made 
the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, 
and setting a watch. 

This last paragraph of the chapter ac- 
quaints us with the endeavours that the 
murderers of Christ used to prevent his 
foretold resurrection : they ask and obtain 
of Pilate, that his sepulchre may be 
strongly guarded till the third day was 
past and over, v.'hen probably they in- 
tended to have exposed his dead body to 
the view of the people ; and accordingly 
a three-fold guard is set about the grave ; 
the stone, the seal, and the watch ; con- 
cluding that Christ was safe enough either 
from rising or stealing ; the stone making 
the grave sure, the seal making the stone 
sure, and the watch or band of soldiers 
making all sure. The stone being sealed 
with the public seal, no person might 
meddle with it upon pain of death. Where 
note, 1. The wonderful wisdom, the over- 
ruling power and providence, of God ; by 
this excessive care and extraordinary dili- 
gence, the high priests hoped to prevent 
our Saviour's resurrection, but the truth 
and belief of it was hereby confirmed to 
all the world. How much evidence had 
Christ's resurrection wanted, if the high 
priests and elders had not been thus ma- 
liciously industrious to prevent his rising ! 
Learn, 2. That the endeavours used to 



obstruct our Lord's resurrection, have ren- 
dered it more certain and undoubted : had 
not all this care and caution been used by 
his enemies, the grounds of our faith had 
not been so strong, so evident, and so 
clear. It was very happy that the Jews 
were thus jealous and suspicious, thus 
careful and distrustful ; for otherwise the 
world had never received so full and per- 
fect an evidence of Christ's resurrection as 
now, whereon all our comfort and sal- 
vation doth depend. Verily their solicitous 
care to suppress our Redeemer's resurrec- 
tion has rendered it more conspicuous, and 
freed it from all suspicion of tbrgery. 

CHAP, xxvin. 

This last chapter of St. Mntthew contains the histo- 
ry of our Saviour's resurrection, and gives us an 
account of wliat lie did on earth between tlie 
time of his triumphant resurrection and his glo- 
rious ascension. 

TN the end of the sabbath, as it 
began to dawn toward the first 
day of the week, came Mary Mag- 
dalene and the other 31ary to see 
the sepulchre. 

The Lord of life was buried upon the Fri- 
day, in the evening of that day on which 
he was crucified ; and his holy body rested 
in the silent grave the next day, and a part 
of the morning of the day following. Thus 
he arose again the third day, neither soon- 
er nor later ; not sooner, lest the truth of 
his death should have been questioned, 
that he did not die at all ; and not later, 
lest the faith of his disciples should have 
failed. And accordingly, when the sab- 
bath was past, a7id it daxvned toxvards the 
first dm/ of the "wecJc, in the morning 
verji early, before day, Mary Magdalene, 
and other devout women, go to visit the 
sepulchre, intending with their spices and 
odours farther to embalm our Lord's body. 
But observe. Although the hearts of these 
good women did burn with an ardent 
love and zeal to their crucified Lord, yet 
the commanded duties of the sabbath are 
not omitted by them ; they stay till the 
sabbath is ended, and then early in the 
morning they go with odours in their hands 
to perfume his sacred corpse ; fearing nei- 
ther the darkness of the night, nor the pre- 
sence of the watchmen ; how great a tri- 
bute of respect and honour is due and 
payable to these women for their magna- 
nimity and courage! They followed 
Christ, when his disciples left him ; they 
accompanied him to his cross, and followed 
his hearse to the grave, when none of his 



160 



ST. MATTHEW. 



disciples durst appear. Learn hence. That 
courage is the special and peculiar gift 
of God ; and where God gives courage, 
it is not in man to make afraid. 

2 And, behold, there was a great 
earthquake : for the angel of the 
Lord descended from heaven, and 
came and rolled back the stone from 
the door, and sat upon it. 3 His 
countenance wa^s like lightning, and 
his raiment white as snow : 4 And 
for fear of him the keepers did shake, 
and became as dead men. 

Observe here, I. With what pomp and 
triumph doth our Lord arise. The earth 
that quaked before at his crucifixion, quakes 
now again at his resurrection : it quaked 
then at the dissolution, now at the re-union, 
of his human nature, to tell the v/orld 
that the God of nature then suffered, and 
now conquered. Observe, 2. How an an- 
gel is employed in Christ's resurrection ; he 
rolls away the stone. But could not Christ 
have risen then without the angel's help ? 
Yes sure ; he that raised himself, surely 
could have removed the stone ; but God 
thinks fit to send an officer from heaven to 
open the prison door of the grave ; and by 
setting our Surely at liberty, proclaims our 
debt to the divine justice fully satisfied. 
Besides, it was fit that the angels, who had 
been witnesses of our Saviour's passion, 
should also be witnesses of his resurrection. 
Observe, 3. How unable the keepers of the 
grave were to bear the sight and presence 
of the angel ; T/iey shook for fear, and 
became as dead men. Angels being pure 
and perfect spirits, man is not able to bear 
the sight of an angel, no, not in human 
shape, without terror and affrightment ; 
and if the sight of an angel be so dreadful, 
what is the sight of God himself ? 

5 And the angel answered and 
said nnto the women, Fear not ye : 
for I know that \e seek Jesus, which 
was crucified, 6 He is not here ; 
for he is risen, as he said. Come, 
see the place where the Lord Jay. 
7 And go quickly, and tell his dis- 
ciples that he is risen from the 
dead ; and, behold, he goeth before 
you into Galilee ; there shall ye see 
him : lo, I have told you. 

Observe here, L Our Lord's resurrection 
asserted and 'declared, He is risen. God 



Chap. XXVHL 

never intended that the Darling of his soul 
should be lost in an obscure sepulchre. 
He is not here, says the angel , that is, in 
the grave, where you laid him, where you 
left him. Death hath lost its Prey, and the 
grave hath lost her Guest. Observe, 2. It 
IS not said, he is not here, for he is raised, 
but. He is risen. The word imports the 
active power of Christ, or the self-quicken- 
ing p'lnciple by which Christ raistid him- 
self trom the dead. Acts i. 3. He shouted 
himself alive after, his passion. Learn 
hence. That it was the divine nature or 
Godhead of Christ, which raised his human 
nature from death to life. Others were 
raised from the grave by Christ's power, 
he raised himself by his own power. Ob- 
serve, 3. The testimony or witness given to 
our Lord's resurrection ; that of an angel : 
The angel said. He is not here, but risen. 
But why is an angel the first publisher of 
our Lord's resurrection ? Surely the dignity 
of our Lord's person, and the excellency of 
his resurrection, required that it should be 
first published by an angel, and according- 
ly it is worthy our observation, how very 
serviceable and oflScious the holy angels 
were in attending upon our Saviour in the 
days of his flesh ; an angel foretells his con- 
ception to the blessed Virgin ; an angel 
proclaims his birth to the shepherds ; an 
angel succours him in his temptation in the 
wilderness ; an angel comforts him in his 
agony in the garden ; and at his resurrec- 
tion an angel rolls away the stone from the 
sepulchre, and brings the first tidings of it 
to the women. In his ascension the angels 
bore him company to heaven : and when 
he comes again to judgment, he shall be 
revealed from heaven with his ?night?/ 
angels. Observe, 4. The persons to whom 
our Lord' s resurrection was first made 
known, to women, to the two Ma- 
ries. But why to the women ? God will 
make choice of weak means for producing 
great eifects, knowing that the weakness of 
the instrument redounds to the greater ho- 
nour of the agent. In the whole dispensa- 
tion of the gospel. Almighty God inter- 
mixes divine power with human weakness. 
Thus the conception of Christ was by the 
power of the Holy Ghost ; but his mother, 
a poor woman, a carpenter's spouse ; so 
the crucifixion of Christ was in much mean- 
ness and outward baseness, being crucified 
between two thieves : but the powers of 
heaven and earth trembling, the rocks rend- 
ing, and the graves opening, showed a mix- 
ture of divine power. God will honour 



Chap. XXVIII. ST. MATTHEW 

what instruments he pleases, for the accom- 
plishment of his own purposes. But why 
to these two women, the two Maries, is tlie 
discovery of Christ's resurrection first made ? 
Possibly it was a reward for their magna- 
nimity and masculine courage. These wo- 
men cleaved to Christ when the apostles 
fled from him, and forsook hini ; they as- 
sisted at his cross, they attended at his 
funeral, they watched his sepulchre. 
These women had more courage than the 
apostles, therefore God makes the women 
apostles to the apostles ; he sends them to 
tell the apostles of the resurrection, and 
they must have the news at the second 
hand. O what a tacit rebuke was thereby 
given to the apostles ! a secret check, that 
they should be thus outdone by poor wo- 
men. These holy women went before the 
apostles in the last services that were done 
for Christ, and therefore the apostles here 
come after them in their rewards and com- 
forts. Observe, 5. The evidence which 
the angel offers to the women, to evince 
and prove the verity and certainty of our 
Saviour's resurrection ; namely, by an ap- 
peal to their senses, Comcy see the place 
•where the Lord laj/. The senses, when 
rightly disposed, are the proper judges of all 
sensible objects ; Christ himself did appeal 
to his disciples' senses concerning the truth 
of his own resurrection ; Behold my hands 
and my feet, that it is I myself: and in- 
deed, if we must not believe our senses, 
we shall want the best external evidence 
for the proof of the truth of the christian re- 
ligion ; namely, the miracles wrought by 
Christ and his apostles ; for what assurance 
can we have of the reality of these mira- 
cles, but from our senses ; therefore says our 
Saviour, If ye believe not me, yet believe 
the -works that I do ; that is, the miracles 
which I have wrought before your eyes. 
Now as my senses tell me that Christ's mi- 
racles were true, so they assure me that 
the doctrine of transubstantiation is false. 
From the whole note. That the Lord Jesus 
Christ, by the omnipotent power of his 
Godhead, revived and rose again from the 
dead, to the terror and consternation of his 
enemies, and the unspeakable joy and con- 
solation of believers. 

8 And they departed quickly 
from the sepulchre with fear and 
great joy, and did run to bring his 
disciples word. 9 And as they 
went to tell his disciples, behold, 
Jesus met them, saving, All hail. 



IGl 



And they came and held him by the 
feet, and worshipped him. 10 
Then said Jesus unto them, Be not 
afraid : go tell my brethren that 
they go into Galilee, and there shall 
they see me. 

Observe here, 1. What haste and speed 
these holy women make to carry the news 
of Ciiribt's resurrection to the apostles : 
such as find and feel their hearts grieved 
for the absence and want of Christ, will 
be very ready to comfort such as are in 
the same condition. O how glad are these 
holy women to carry the good news of 
their Lord's resurrection to the heart-broken 
disciples. Observe, 2. How these holy 
women hastened, in obedience to the an- 
gel's command, to tell the disciples to meet 
with Christ in the way. Such as obey 
the directions of God's ministers, seeking 
Christ in his own way and means, shall 
find him to their comfort sooner than they 
expected. These holy women find Christ 
before they looked for him : As they went 
to tell his disciples, Jesus tnct them. 
happy women! whilst they were weeping 
for a dead Christ, they find a living Jesus„ 
Observe, 3. The affectionate and loving 
title which Christ puts upon his disciples : 
Tell my brethren. He might have said, 
" Go tell those apostate apostles, that cow- 
ardly left me in my danger, that durst not 
own me in the high priest's hall, that durst 
not come within the shadow of my cross, 
nor within the sight of my sepulchre." Not 
a word of this, by way of upbraiding them 
for their late shameful cowardice; but all 
words of kindness : Go tell my brethren. 
Where note. That Christ calls his disciples 
brethren after his resurrection and exalta- 
tion, as he had done before in his state of 
humiliation, to show the continuance of 
his former affection to them, and that the 
change of his condition had wrought no 
change in his affection towards his despised 
members : but those that were his brethren 
before, in the time of his abasement, are 
so still after his exaltation and advancement. 
Observe lastly. The place where Christ 
chooses to meet with and speak to his dis- 
ciples, not in Jerusalem, but in Galilee. 
J go before them into Galilee, there shall 
they see jne. Jerusalem was now a forsak- 
en place, a people abandoned to de- 
struction : Christ would not show himself 
openly to them, but Galilee was a place 
where Christ's ministry was more accepta- 
ble. Such places wherein Christ is most 



162 



ST. MATTHEW. 



Chap. XXVIII. 



welcome to preach, shall be most honour- 
ed with his presence. In Galilee shall 
they see me. 

11 Now, when they were going, 
behold, some of the watch came in- 
to the city, and shewed unto the 
chief priests all the things that 
were done, 12 And when they 
were assembled with the elders, and 
had taken counsel, they gave large 
money unto the soldiers, 13 Say- 
ing, Say ye. His disciples came by 
night, and stole him away while 
we slept. 34 And if this come to 
the governor's ears, we will per- 
suade him, and secure you. 15 So 
they took the money, and did as 
they were taught : and this saying 
is commonly reported among the 
Jews until this day. 

Observe here, 1. How the priests and 
elders endeavour by a notorious lie to 
hinder the belief of our Lord's resurrection ; 
they suborn and bribe the soldiers to say 
that his corpse was stolen out of the grave ; 
lies have been an old refuge which the 
enemies of Christ have all along had re- 
course unto : lying is an ancient device 
of Satan. But, Observe, 2. What an im- 
probable and unlikely lie this v.'as, which 
they put in the soldiers' mouths to vouch ; 
Say, His disciples came and stole him 
away while we slept. Frivolous excuse ! 
carrying with it a most self-evident con- 
tradiction. If the soldiers were asleep, how 
could they discover the disciples stealing 
aA^ay the body ? If awake, why did they 
not prevent their stealing it ? Besides, how 
improbable was it that Christ's few and 
fearful disciples should attempt to open 
the sepulchre guarded by soldiers! And 
as unlikely was it that the soldiers should 
be all asleep together, and so fast asleep 
too, that the great stone at the mouth of 
the sepulchre should be rolled away, and 
not one of the soldiers awakened with the 
noise. Infatuation is the certain conse- 
quence of desertion of God. Yet observe 
farther. That this incredible falsehood finds 
a fast and firm rooting in the belief of 
the Jews to this day. Note thence. That 
it is a righteous thing with God to de- 
liver up those to strong delusions, even to 
the believing of notorious lies, who will 
not yield their assent to divine truths upon 
the clearest evidence, and most convincing 



demonstration. How strange is it, that 
such a falsehood as this should find belief 
among the Jews to this day ! But where 
truth is obstinately rejected, a lie, though 
never so improbable, is received. 

16 Then the eleven disciples went 
away into Galilee, into a moun- 
tain where Jesus had appointed 
them. 17 And when they saw him, 
they worshipped him : but some 
doubted. 

The meeting of our Saviour and his 
apostles upon a mountain in Galilee, was 
an appointed and general meeting. The 
mountain is supposed to be that near Ca- 
pernaum, where he made that famous ser- 
mon, called. The sermon on the mount : 
and the meeting is supposed to be ap- 
pointed as a general rendezvous, for con- 
firming the faith of all his disciples in 
the certainty of his resurrection. Possibly 
our Lord appointed this place in Gali- 
lee, so far from Jerusalem, that his disci- 
ples might without danger come thither 
to see their Saviour alive again, after his 
crucifixion. This is judged to be that fa- 
mous appearance of which St, Paul speaks, 
1 Cor. XV. 6. When he was seen of 
above five hundred brethren at once. 
And those who saw him worshipped him, 
who before had doubted. Learn hence, 
That when faith is once satisfied, and sees 
Christ to be God, it engages the soul to 
worship him. Divine worship is due to 
Christ upon the account of his divine na- 
ture. No creature can be the object of 
divine worship, therefore they that worship 
Christ by praying to him, and yet deny 
him to be God, are certainly idolaters. 
If Christ had had an angelic nature, that 
had not made him capable of divine wor- 
ship : for adoration is founded only in Divi- 
nity, and what is but human or angelical 
is not adorable. 

18 And Jesus came and spake 
unto them, saying, All power is 
given unto me in heaven and in 
earth. 19 Go ye, therefore, and 
teach all nations, baptizing them 
in the name of the Father, and of 
the Son, and of the Holy Ghost ; 
20 Teaching them to observe all 
things whatsoever I have commanded 
you : and, lo, I am with you alway, 
even unto the end of the world. 
Amen. 



Chap. XXVIII 

Observe here, 1. A power asserted. 2. 
An authority delegated. 3. A command 
enjoined. 4. A promise subjoined. Ob- 
serve. 1. A power and authority asserted 
by our Saviour, as belonging to himself : A II 
power is given unto me both in heaven 
and in earth. (1.) In heaven, which com- 
prehends a power of sending the PIoiyGhost; 
a power over the angels and all the hosts of 
heaven, and a power to dispose of heaven 
to all that shall believe in him. (2.) Inearth, 
which comprehends a power to gcther a 
church out of all nations, and authority to 
rule, govern, and defend the same against 
all its enemies. Learn hence. That all 
power and authority concerning the church 
of God, was given unto Christ and confer- 
red upon him, upon the account of his me- 
ritorious death and triumphant resurrection. 
All poxver is given unto me ; that is, as 
Mediator : but this power was inherent 
in him as God from all eternity. Observe, 
2. This power delegated by Christ to his 
apostles : Go ye, therefore, and teach and 
baptize all nations ; instructing them to 
observe all things whatsoever I command 
you. Here is a threefold power delegated by 
Christ to his apostles : ( 1 . ) To congregate and 
gather a church, a christian church, out of all 
the heathen nations throughout the world. 
Before he had confined them only to Israel ; 
now they must travel from country to coun- 
try, and proselyte the heathen nations, which 
before had been taught of the devil, and 
were led away by his oracles and delusions. 
Go, ai.d disciple all nations, without any 
distinction of country, sex, or age, whatso- 
ever, and make the gospel-church as large 
as you can. Thence note. That the apostles 
and first planters of the gospel had a com- 
mission from Christ to go amongst the 
pagan Gentiles, without limitation ; and 
were not to take up their settled residence in 
any one nation, but to travel from country 
to country, instructing them in the saving 
mysteries of the gospel. The second branch 
of their power was to baptize in the name of 
the Holy Trinity: Baptizing in the name 
of the Father, and of the Son, and of the 
Holy Ghost. Where observe. That all 
adult and grown persons are to be first 
taught and instructed before they be bap- 
tized. But it follows not from hence, that 
the children of such parents may not be 
baptized before they are taught : for the 
apostles were to baptize all nations, of which 
children are the chief, if not the chiefest 
part. Besides, those that were proselyted to 
the Jewish religion, though before they 



ST. MATTHEW. 



1G3 



were circumcised themselves they were 
instructed in the law of God; yet when 
they are circumcised themselves, their 
children were not denied circumcision at 
eight days old. In like manner we have no 
reason to deny the children of baptized 
parents, who are in covenant themselves, 
the sign and seal of the covenant, which is 
baptism. God having assured his people 
that he -will be the God of them and of 
their seed. If this privilege be denied, the 
children of christian parents are m a worse 
condition than the children of the Jews ; 
and consequently infants are in a worse 
condition since Christ's coming, than they 
were before, and the privileges of those that 
live under the gospel are straiter and nar- 
rower than those that lived under the law. 
Observe farther, In whose name persons are 
to be baptized : Jn the name of the Father, 
Son, and Holy Ghost. Where we have a 
profession of our belief in the Holy Trinity, 
a dedication of the person to the worship 
and service of the Holy Trinity, and a 
stipulation or covenant-promise that we will 
continue faithful in the service of Father, 
Son, and Holy Spirit, to our lives' end. 
The third branch of the power which Christ 
delegated to his apostles, was by their 
ministry to press upon all their converts an 
universal observance of, and obedience to, 
all his commands ; Teaching them to ob- 
serve all things whatsoever 1 command 
you. Where note, 1. That preaching is 
the ordinary and instituted means to convert 
nations unto God. 2. That preaching 
must not only go before baptism, but follow 
after it. Obedience must be pressed upon, 
and practised by, all those that enter into 
covenant with God; otherwise they lie 
under a great condemnation. 3. That 
preaching of the gospel is a chief part of 
the minister's work, and no apostle thought 
himself above that duty. 4. As the apostles 
did not, so the ministers of Christ ought not 
to teach any thing but what Christ com- 
mands them. T). As. they are to, teach what 
Christ commands thcrn, so they are to 
teach all things whatsoever Christ commands 
them : Teaching them to observe all things 
whatsoever I command you. Lastly, ob- 
serve the promise enjoined : Lo, J am with 
you always to the end of the world. That 
is, I am and will be with you and your 
successors, lawfully called by my power and 
authority, by the blessing and assistance 
of my Holy Spirit. I will be with you to 
uphold my own ordinance, to protect, and 
encourage, and reward you, and all your 
M 2 



164 



successors, in the faitliful discharge of your 
trust ; and this not for a day, a year, or an 
age, but to the end and consummation of 
all ages. Learn tlience. That the ministry 
of the word, and administration of the sacra- 
ments, are a standing and perpetual ordi- 
nance, to continue in the christian church 
throughout all ages. Learn, 2. That all 
the faithful ministers of Christ, in what part 
of the world soever God shall cast their lot, 
and in what time soever they shall happen 
to live, may comfortably expect Christ's 
gracious presence with their persons, and 



ST. MARK. Chap. I. 

his blessing upon their endeavours. Lo, I 
am with you, I am al-ways with you, and 
to the end of the world I will be with you. 
Thanks be to Christ for the gracious promise 
of his spiritual and perpetual presence with 
his ministers to the end of the world. May 
this promise cause us to gird up the loins of 
our minds, increase our diligence, zeal, and 
fervour, accounting no labour too great, no 
service too much, no sufferings too severe, 
so that we may hui finish our course with 
joy, and fulfil the ministry we are engaged 
in ! Amen. Amen. 



THE 

HOLY GOSPEL 

ACCORDING TO 

SAINT MARK. 



Saint Mark, the writer ofthis compendious history of our blessed Saviour's life and death, was tlie dis- 
ciple and companion of St. Peter; and some affirm, that he wrote liis Gospe' from St. Peter's mouth ; 
it being dictated by St. Peter, and indited by the Holy Ghost. But since we are assured that the 
Spirit of God indited the book, we need not trouble ourselves to find out whose hand it was that held 
the pen. 



CHAP. I. 
nPHE beginning of the gospel of 
Jesus Christ, the Son of God ; 

The word Gospel signifies a message of 
glad tidings, and intimates to us, that the 
gospel of the doctrine contains the most 
gladsome tidings, the most joyful message, 
that ever was sent from God to mankind : 
happy tidings concerning our reconciliation 
with God, and salvation by Jesus Christ. O 
how highly should we prize, how stedfastly 
believe, how cordially embrace, these good 
tidings of great joy ! Observe, 2. This gospel is 
called the Gospel of Jesus Christ, because 
Christ, as God, is the Author of this gospel, 
and also the principal subject and matter 
of it. Indeed St. John the Baptist was the 
first publisher and preacher of the gospel- 
doctrine, but Christ himself was the first and 
principal Author, and likewise the chief Sub- 
ject-matter of it ; for whatever is taught in 
the gospel relates either to the person and 
offices of Christ, or to the benefits received 
by him, or the means of enjoying those 
benefits from him. Observe, 3. How St. 
Mark styles Christ the Son of God, as St. 
Matthew had styled him before, the Son of 
David ; the one sets forth the verity of his 
human nature, the other the reality of his di- 



vine nature ; signifying to us, that the true 
and promised Messias was both God and Man 
in two distinct natures, and one Person for 
ever. He is true and real God, as well 
as the Father and the Holy Ghost; not a 
mere Man, but God as well as Man. 

2 As it is written in the prophets. 
Behold, I send my messenger before 
thy face, which shall prepare thy 
way before thee. 

St. Mark begins his gospel with an account 
of St. John the Baptist's preaching and 
ministry, and declares, 1. That the prophet; 
of old, particularly Isaiah and Malachi, did 
long before foretell the Baptist's message 
and ministry; that he should go before 
Christ as his harbinger to prepare the way 
for him : Behold, I send my inessenger to 
prepare thy way. Where note, 1. The 
dignity and authority of the ministers of 
Christ : they are his messengers sent by him 
to deliver his mind and will unto his people. 
This ministerial mission is twofold, extraor- 
dinary and ordinary ; the former when 
God immediately by himself calls men to the 
holy function ; the latter, when he uses the 
ministry of men in order thereunto. Observe, 
2. The work and office of the ministers of 



Chap. 1. 



ST. IMARK. 



105 



Christ declared, and that is, to prepare 
people to receive Jesus Christ, offered and 
tendered to them in the gospel. Behold, 
J send mi) messenger, to prepare tliy "way 
before thee. Learn thence, That the 
great design and end of the ministry of 
the word, is, to prepare and fit men for 
entertaining the holy religion of Christ 
in their hearts, and to oblige them to walk 
accordmg to the rules and directions of it 
in their lives. 

3 The voice of one crying in the 
wilderness. Prepare ye the way of 
the Lord, make his paths straight. 

Here note, 1. The title given to John 
the Baptist : he is called a Foiee, in re- 
spect of his ministerial office, which was to 
speak forth, to promulge and publish, the 
doctrine of salvation. 2. The quantity or 
kind of this voice, a crying voice, the 
voice of one crying. This implies, 1. 
His earnestness and vehemency, his zeal 
and fervency, in preaching. When we 
lift up our voice, and cry aloud, we speak 
with earnestness and fervour. When our 
own hearts are warmly affected with what 
we preach, we may hope to affect the 
hearts of our hearers. Why has God 
commissioned men rather than angels, 
to be the preachers and dispensers of his 
word, but because we can speak to and 
treat with sinners more feelingly and more 
affectionately than the angels can ? 2. 
This crying of the holy Baptist in his 
preaching, implies his liberty and boldness, 
as well as his vehemency and earnestness, 
in delivering of his message. The lifting 
up of the voice in speaking, argues bold- 
ness and courage in the speaker; as, on 
the contrary, the depressing of the voice 
showeth timorousness. Learn hence. That 
the ministers of the word are to use both 
zeal and earnestness, and also courage and 
boldness of spirit, in delivering the word 
and message of God, not forbearing to 
reprove sin, not concealing any part of 
God's truth, for fear of men's displeasure. 
Observe, 3. The sum and substance of 
what he cried. Prepare ye the -way of the 
Lord, 7nake his paths straight ; that is, 
" Make ready yourselves, prepare your 
own hearts, to entertain the doctrine and glad 
tidings of the gospel." It is a metaphorical 
speech, taken from the custom of loyal and 
dutiful subjects, who, when their prince is 
coming to lodge in their city, prepare and 
make ready the way for his coming, by 
removing every thing that may obstruct 



or hinder his progress. Learn hence. That 
man's heart by nature is very unfit to 
embrace and entertain the Lord Jesus 
Christ. We have naturally no fitness, 
no disposition, no inclination, to believe 
in him, or to submit unto him. 2. If 
ever we desire to entertain Christ in our 
hearts, we must first prepare and make fit 
our hearts for the receiving and embracing 
of him. For though the preparation of' 
the heart be from the Lord, yet he re- 
quires the exercise of our faculties, and 
the use of our endeavours. He prepares 
our hearts, by enabling us to the prepara- 
tion of our own hearts. This is done by 
getting a sight of the evil of sin, a sense 
of our misery without Christ, an hungering 
and thirsting desire after him, a true faith 
in him. Christ will lodge in no heart 
that is not thus made ready to receive him. 

4 John did baptize in the wilder- 
ness, and preach the baptism of re- 
pentance for the remission of sins. 

A twofold account is here given of St. 
John's execution of his ministry and office : 
First, his baptizing ; secondly , his preaching. 
,Tohn did baptize ; that is, admit persons 
into the church, by washing them with 
water : John baptized into the name of 
Christ, who was to come ; the apostles 
baptized into the name of Christ, already 
come. The second part of his office was 
preaching. Where note. That preaching 
of the word, and administration of the 
sacraments, are to go together, and belong 
only to the ministers of the word, lawfully 
called. John did baptize and preach ; 
but where and what did he preach ? The 
place where, was the wilderness ; a place 
not much frequented, though not altogether 
uninhabited ; a solitary, mean, and obscure 
place. Thither God had called him, and 
there he contents himself. Learn hence. 
That the ministers of God must be content 
to execute their ministry where God calls 
them, be the place never so mean and 
obscure, and the people never so rude and 
barbarous : John was a preacher of great 
note and fame ; Jerusalem the chief city 
might seem more fit for him ; but God had 
called him to preach in the wilderness, and 
he would not leave it. We must not leave 
our place because it is mean and obscure, 
nor desert our people, thinking them too 
base to instruct ; but where God has called 
us we must there abide, till he that called 
us thither remove us thence. Observe 
further. As the place where the Baptist. 



IGG 



preached, 2« the wilderness, so the doc- 
trine which he preached, namely, the 
baptism of repentance for the remis- 
sion of sins; that is, the doctrine of bap- 
tism, which sealeth the remission of sins 
to the party baptized. Learn hence. That 
the preaching of the doctrine of repentance 
is absokitely necessary, and the indispen- 
sable duty of every gospel-minister. John 
Baptist preached it, our Saviour preached 
it, ills apostles preached it : 2Viei/ tvent 
out preaching every where that men 
should repent. The baptism of repent- 
ance (says the learned Lightfoot) belongs 
to children, though they know not what 
repentance means, because it engages them 
to repentance when they come to years 
to understand that engagement. For thus 
it was with children circumcised, they 
became debtors to observe that whole law, 
though they knew not what the law meant j 
yet circumcision bound ihem to it, when 
they came to years of discretion. 

5 And there went out unto him 
all the land of Jndea, and they of 
Jerusalem, and were all baptized of 
him in the river of Jordan, confess- 
ing their sins. 

Here we have an account of the success 
of St. John's ministry ; 1. In the general 
concourse and resort of the people to it. 
All Judea and Jerusalem ; that is, a great 
many of all degrees and ranks, of all ages 
and sexes. John was famed for a prophet, 
and a prophet was now a great rarity. 
Malachi was the last prophet before John, 
and he lived about five hundred years be- 
fore John. Now the excellency of his per- 
son, the earnestness of his preaching, the 
acceptableness of his doctrine, that the 
Messias was come, and the austerity of his 
life and conversation, all these caused the 
people to flock unto him. Learn hence. 
That it is a great encouragement to the mi- 
nisters of Christ when people show them- 
selves ready and forward to repair unto 
the places where the word and sacraments 
are dispensed to them : All Judea and Je^ 
rusalem attended upon John's ministry. 
The second fruit of John's ministry was, 
that the people were ready to receive at 
his hand the sacrament of baptism: Thei) 
were all baptized of him in Jordan. 
Learn hence. That the ministers of Christ 
ought not only to preach the word, but 
also to dispense the sacraments to their peo- 
ple, even to all that do desire them, and 
are fit to be partakers of them. A third 



ST. MARK. Chap. I. 

fruit of John's ministry was, his hearers' 
profession of their true repentance, by the 
confession of their sins ; as the pro- 
fession of repentance is requisite in all that 
are baptized, so a free and voluntary, an 
ingenuous and impartial, confession of 
sin, is a good evidence and testimony of 
the truth and sincerity of our repentance. 

6 And John was clothed with ca- 
mels' hair, and with a girdle of a 
skin about his loins : and he did eat 
locusts and wild honey ; 

This verse acquaints us with the strictness 
and austerity of St. John's life in the wil- 
derness ; which is laid down in two things ; 
in his mean and frugal apparel, and in his 
sober and temperate diet. His apparel 
was rough and hairy, and his girdle of 
leather ; as Elijah his forerunner was clad 
before him, 2 Kings i. 8. His diet was 
coarse and ordinary, locusts and wild ho- 
ve?/ : that is, such plain and ordinary food 
as the wilderness afforded. His example 
teaches us. That the ministers of the gospel 
are not to affect either bravery in apparel, 
or delicacy in diet ; but both by their 
habit and diet set an example of gravitv 
and sobriety before their people ; being in 
these, as well as in other things, an exam- 
ple unto their flocks. 

7 And preached, saying, There 
conieth one mightier than I after 
me, the latchet of whose shoes I am 
not worthy to stoop down and un- 
loose. 

Observe here, 1 . The high opinion that 
the Baptist had of Christ. He is mightier 
than I ; that is, a Person of greater dignity 
and excellency by far than myself: whence 
may be gathered, that though Christ was 
Man, he was not mere man, but more than 
man : even very God, equal with his 
Father ; for John Baptist was the greatest 
of them that were born of women, Matt. 
xi. 11. yet, says he, Christ is mightier 
and greater than I. How so, but in re- 
gard to the dignity of his person, being 
both God and Man in two distinct natures 
and one person. Observe, 2. The humble 
and low estimation that the Baptist had of 
himself: His shoe latchet I am not worthy 
to unloose: a proverbial speech, implying 
that he was unworthy to do the basest and 
meanest service for Christ. O how well 
doth humility of mind, an humble appre- 
hension, a low esteem and opinion of 
themselves and their own gifts and abilities. 



Chap. I. 



ST. MARK. 



167 



become the messengers and ministers of 
Christ ! John was a man of eminent abiU- 
ties, yet of exemplary humility ; he thought 
himself unworthy to unloose Clirist's shoe, 
or do the meanest office for him. 

8 I indeed have baptized you with 
water : but he shall baptize you 
with the Holy Ghost. 

John showed the dignity of Christ's 
person above his own, in the former verse ; 
in this he declares the excellency of Clirist's 
office, and the meanness of his own ; I 
wash the body with water, but Christ 
cleanses the soul by the operation of his 
Holy Spirit. Thence learn. That though 
the ministers of Christ do by Christ's 
command dispense the outward ordinance 
of baptism, yet it is Christ himself, that 
by the inward work of his Spirit doth 
make it effectual to such as receive it. 
I baptize with "water; but he with the 
HoUj Ghost. 

9 And it came to pass in those 
days, that Jesus came from Naza- 
reth of Galilee, and was baptized 
of John in Jordan. 10 And straight- 
way coming up out of the water, he 
saw the heavens opened, and the 
Spirit, like a dove, descending upon 
him : 11 And there came a voice 
from heaven, saying. Thou art my 
beloved Son, in whom I am well 
pleased. 

See the note on Matt. iii. 13. Observe 
here, 1 . The great condescension of Christ, 
in seeking and submitting to the baptism of 
John : Christ, though he was John's 
Lord and Master, yea. Lord of heaven and 
earth, yet cometh to hear John preach, 
and will be baptized of his messenger. 
Thence learn. That the greatest persons 
should neither think themselves too great, 
nor too good, to come unto the ministers 
of God, to hear the word from their mouth, 
or to receive the sacrament at their hand. 
Christ the Son of God was content to be 
baptized of John, a mean person in com- 
parison of himself. How dare then the 
greatest upon earth despise the ministry of 
man, being appointed by God ? Observe, 
2. The solemn investing of Christ with 
the office of Mediator, by a threefold 
miracle ; namely, the opening of the 
heavens, the descent of the Holy Ghost, 
and God the Father's voice or testimony 
concerning his Son ; the heavens were 



opened, to show, that heaven, which was 
closed and shut against us for our sins, is 
now opened to us by Christ's undertaking 
for us. As Christ opened heaven by his 
meritorious passion, so he keeps it open 
by his prevailing intercession. Next, the 
Holy Ghost descends like a dove upon 
our Saviour. Here we have a proof and 
evidence of the Blessed Trinity. The 
Father speaks from heaven, the Son comes 
out of the water, and the Holy Ghost 
descends in the likeness of a dove. But 
why did the Holy Ghost now descend upon 
Christ ? First, for the designation of his 
person, to show that he was the Person set 
apart for his word and office of a mediator. 
Secondly, for the sanctification of his 
person for the performance of that office. 
This was Christ's unction, the day on 
which he was anointed above his fellows 
to be the King, Priest, and Prophet, of his 
church: Isa. ixi. ver. 1. The Spirit of 
the Lord is upon vie, he hath anointed 
me, &c. Observe, 3. The voice of God 
the Father pronounced, (1.) The nearness 
of Christ's relation to himself : This is my 
Son. (2.) The endearedness of his person : 
This is my beloved Son. (3.) The fruit 
and benefit of his near and dear relation 
unto us : In whom I am well pleased. 
Hence learn. That there is no possibility 
for a person to please God out of Christ ; 
neither our persons nor our performances 
can find acceptance but through him, and 
for his sake; — that the Lord Jesus Christ 
is the Ground and Cause of all that love 
which God the Father showeth to the sons 
of men. In Christ, God is well pleased 
with us, as a reconciled Father ; out of 
him, a consuming Fire. 

12 And immediately the Spirit 
driveth him into the wilderness. 13 
And he was there in the wilderness 
forty days, tempted of Satan ; and 
was with the wild beasts ; and the 
angels ministered unto him. 

Immediately, That is, 1. After his 
baptism. Christ is no sooner out of the 
water of baptism, but he is in the fire of 
temptation : such as are baptized with 
Christ, and entered into the profession of 
Christianity, must look to be assaulted with 
Satan's temptations. Again, immediately, 
that is, 2. After the Father had declared 
his complacency in him, and being well 
pleased with him. Learn thence, That 
great manifestations of love from God are 
usually followed with great temptations 



1G8 



ST. MARK. 



Chap. I. 



from God. The Spirit driveth him, that 
js, the Holy Spirit of God. For the devil 
is seldom, if ever, called the Spirit, but 
usually some brand of reproach is annexed, 
as the evil spirit, or the unclean spirit and 
the like. Christ -mas led by the Spirit, 
says St. Matthew, chap. iv. 1. He was 
driven by the Spirit, says St. Mark ; that 
is, he was carried by a strong impulse of 
the Spirit of God to be tempted by Satan, 
and did not go of his own private motion 
to enter the lists with Satan, Teaching us 
our duty, not to run into or rush upon 
temptations, without a warrant and call 
from God. Observe next. The place where 
Satan assaulted Christ with his temptations: 
it was a solitary wilderness. No place can 
privilege us from temptations, or be a sanc- 
tuary from Satan's assaults. The solitary 
wilderness has a tempter in it : yea, Satan 
oftentimes makes use of men's solitariness 
to further his temptations ; and such as se- 
parate themselves from human society, and 
give themselves up to solitude and retire- 
ment, give great advantage to the tempter 
to tempt them. Observe next. The time 
and continuance of our holy Lord's temp- 
tations ; not for an hour, a day, a week, 
or a month, but for forty days and forty 
nights ; not all the time, but very often 
in that time. Teaching us what we are to 
expect from Satan ; temptations not a few ; 
he will not solicit us once, but often, and 
follow us with fresh assaults ; but the only 
way to overcome is, as often to resist him. 
Observe farther, A special aggravation of 
our Lord's temptations in the wilderness. 
He was with the wild beasts, having no 
comfort from man, but only wild beasts for 
his companions, which were more likely to 
annoy and hurt him, than any way to 
help and comfort him. Here we have an 
evidence of the divine power of Christ ; 
who, as Lord of the creatures, can alter 
and change the nature of the creature at 
his pleasure ; restraining the most savage 
and hurtful beasts from hurting either him- 
self or any of his people. Observe lastly. 
The supply sent in to Christ in the hour 
of temptation : The angels came and 
ministered unto him ; food to his hungry 
body, and comfort to his tempted soul. 
Learn thence. That those who in the hour 
of temptation do hold out in resisting Sa- 
tan, shall find that the power and faith- 
fulness of God will not be wanting to 
them to send in succour and relief at last. 
Then the devil Icavetk him, and behold, 
angels came and ministered unto him. 



14 Now after that John was put 
in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, 
preaching the gospel of the king- 
dom of God, 15 And saying. The 
time is fulfilled, and the kingdom 
of God is at hand ; repent ve, and 
believe the gospel. 

In this our Saviour's first beginning to 
preach the gospel, we have an account of 
the time when, the place where, and the 
sum of what, he preached. Observe, 1, 
The time when our Lord began to preach, 
and that was after John the Baptist was 
cast into prison, Where note, 1. The un- 
due reward which the ministers of God do 
sometimes meet with from a wicked world ; 
they are hated, persecuted, and imprisoned, 
for their courage in reproving sin : John 
for reproving Herod's incest was put in pri- 
son. Note, 2. John was no sooner in pri- 
son, and stopped and hindered from preach- 
ing, but Christ began to preach. See the 
care and kindnessot God towards Ins church, 
in that he never leaves it wholly destitute 
of the means of instruction : when some of 
his faithful ministers are restrained from 
preaching, he stirreth up others in their 
room, not suffering all their mouths to be 
stopped at once. Observe, 2. The place 
where our Lord first preached, in Galilee. 
The land of Canaan, in our Saviour's time, 
was divided into three principal provinces: 
on the south, Judea : on the north, Gali- 
lee ; in the midst, Samaria. Galilee was 
divided into the upper and lower Galilee ; 
the higher was called Galilee of the Gen- 
tiles, because it was the utmost part of the 
land, and so next unto the Gentiles. In 
this upper Galilee, Capernaum was the me- 
tropolis, or chief; and Chorazin a lesser 
city. Now much of our Saviour's time 
was spent in Galilee ; he was conceived 
and brought up at Nazareth, a city in Ga- 
lilee ; he first preached at Capernaum in 
Galilee ; he wrought his first miracle at Cana 
in Galilee ; his transfiguration was upon 
mount Tabor in Galilee ; and our Saviour's 
ordinary residence was in Galilee. He 
came mto Judea, and up to Jerusalem, 
only at the feasts: and after his resurrec- 
tion he appoints his disciples to meet him 
in Galilee. Only his nativity, his passion, 
and ascension, were proper to Judea. His 
nativity at Bethlehem, his passion at Jeru- 
salem, and his ascension upon mount Oli- 
vet, hard by Jerusalem. Now all this de- 
monstrates Christ to be the true and pro- 
mised Messias ; for according to prophecy. 



Chap. I. 



ST. MARK. 



IGO 



the Messias was to have his presence and 
principal abode in the province of GaUlee, 
Isa. ix. 1, 2, 3, &c. Yet because he was 
of Galilee, the Jews would not believe 
him to be the Messiah, saying in scorn. 
Can any good thing come out of Galilee ? 
Whereas our Saviour's habitation and tree 
conversation there, was a proof unto them, 
and ought to have persuaded them, that 
according to the prophecy he was the very 
Christ. Observe, 3. The sum of what our 
Lord preached, namely, a doctrine, and an 
exhortation. His doctrine is. That the 
time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God 
is at hand ; that is, that the time foretold 
by the prophets, when the kingdom of 
the Messiah should begin, was now come. 
The exhortation is. Therefore repent, and 
believe the gospel. From the former, note. 
That the Messiah's coming, or our Savi- 
our's appearing m the flesh, was exactly at 
the time foretold by the holy prophets : The 
time is fulfilled, the kingdom uf the Mes- 
siah is at hand. Note, 2. That the 
great doctrines of repentance and faith are 
taught only in and by the gospel, and ac- 
cordingly ought in a special manner to 
be preached and insisted upon by the mi- 
nisters of the gospel. The doctrine of 
Christ, and his ambassadors, is and ought 
to be the same ; they both teach the great 
doctrines of faith and repentance to a lost 
world : Repent, and believe the gospel. 

16 Noflr as he walked bv the sea 
of Galilee, he saw Simon and 
Andrew his brother casting' a net 
into the sea : for they were fishers : 
17 And Jesus said unto them, Come 
ye after me, and I will make you to 
become fishers of men. 18 And 
straightway they forsook their nets, 
and followed him. 19 And when 
he had gone a little farther thence, 
he saw James the son of Zebedee, 
and John his brother, who also were 
in the ship mending their nets. 20 
And straightway he called them : 
and they left their father Zebedee 
in the ship with the hired servants, 
and went after him. 

In this history of our Saviour's calling 
the four disciples, Peter and Andrew, James 
and John, observe these particulars. 1. 
The meanness of the persons whom he 
calls, illiterate fishermen : Christ took 
hereby effectual care that his gospel should 



be known to be the power of God, 
and not the wisdom and device of man ; 
and that the instruments should not carry 
away the glory of the work. Observe, 2. 
Christ called his apostles by couples, two 
and two; first Peter and Andrew, then 
James and John: thereby signifying to 
us, that the work of the ministry requires 
the concurrence of all hands tiiat are called 
to it. All the ministers of God sliould join 
their hearts and hands, and set their shoul- 
ders as one man to this great work ; and 
all little enough, God knows, to carry it 
on with advantage and success. Observe, 

3. The work whi^ch they are called from, 
and called to: from hem^ fishermen, to be 
'shcrs of men; from catchmg fish with 
the labour of their hands, to catch men 
with the labour of their tongues. Observe, 

4. Our Saviour's command, first to follow 
him, belore they be sent out by him : Fol- 
low me, and I villi make you fishers of 
men. We must be Christ's disciples before 
we are his ministers ; his followers, before 
we are his ambassadors : we must learn 
Christ before we preach him ; otherwise 
we may fish for a livelihood, but not for 
souls. Observe, 5. The gracious promise 
which Christ gives his apostles lor their 
encouragement 5 namely, to qualify them 
for, and to succeed them in, their office-: J 
•will make you fishers of men. Faithful- 
ness and care, diligence and endeavour, is 
our part ; but the blessing and success is 
Christ's : our labour is only in the cast ; 
Christ's power is wholly in the draught. 
Some fish cleave to the rocks, others play 
upon the sands, more wallow in mud ; and 
verily we shall labour all our days and 
catch nothing, if Christ do not bring our 
fish to the net, and inclose them in it, as 
well as assist us in the throwing and cast- 
ing of it. Observe, G. The apostles' ready 
compliance with our Saviour's call. Straight- 
way they forsook their father and friends, 
ship and nets, and followed Jesus. Whom 
Christ calls, he calls effectually : and draws 
whom he calls, and works their hearts to 
a ready compliance with their duty. Ob- 
serve, 7. That upon their call to the minis- 
try they leave otF their trade, they for- 
sake their ship and nets, and lie close 
to their ministerial employment. Teach- 
ing us, That the ministers of the gospel 
should wholly give themselves up to their 
great work, and not encumber themselves 
with secular afiairs and worldly business. 
Nothing but an indispensable necessity, 
in providing for a family, can excuse a 



170 



ST. MARK. 



Chap. I. 



minister's incumbering himself with worldly 
concerns and business. 

21 And they went into Caper- 
iiaiini ; and straightway on the sab- 
bath-day he entered into the syna- 
gogue, and taught, 22 And they 
were astonished at his doctrine : for 
he taught them as one that had au- 
thority, and not as the scribes. 

Our Saviour having called his disciples, 
Peter and Andrew, James and John, to fol- 
low him, in order to their preaching of the 
gospel ; here we may observe how he went 
himself along with them, teaching person- 
ally in the synagogues wherever he came : 
he did not send his apostles forth as his 
curates, and lie at home himself upon his 
couch of ease. What shall we say to those 
lazy fishermen that set others to the drag, 
but care only to feed themselves with the 
fish; not willing to wet their hands with 
the net, or take any pains themselves ? Our 
Saviour did not thus ; but when he sent forth 
his apostles, he still preached himself : he 
■went into their synagogues and taught. 
Observe farther, The successof his preaching; 
the people were astonished at his doctrine, 
struck with admiration, apprehending and 
believing him to be an extraordinary pro- 
phet, sent from God. Learn thence. That 
such is the efficacy of Christ's doctrine, 
especially when accompanied with the energy 
and operation of his Holy Spirit, that it 
makes all his auditors admirers ; causing 
astonishment in their minds, and reforma- 
tion in their manners. Observe lastly, the 
reason of our Lord's success in preaching : 
He i a light as one having authoriti/. He 
taught in his own name, as being Lord of 
his doctrine ; not saying with the prophets. 
Thus saiih the Lord ; but I say unfo you. 
And he wrought powerful miracles, which 
accompanied his doctrine. As Christ was 
careful to preserve the authority of his person 
and doctrine with the people ; so is it the 
duty of his ministers to demean themselves 
amongst their people, that neither their 
authority may be contemned, nor their 
persons despised, but their doctrine and 
th^ mstlves reverenced and obeyed. 

23 And there was in their syna- 
gogue a man with an unclean spirit ; 
and he cried out, 24 Saying, Let 
us alone ; what have we to do with 
thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth ? art 
thou come to destroy us ? 1 know 
thee who thou art, the Holy One of 



God. 25 And Jesus rebuked him, 
saying, Hold thy peace and come out 
of him, 26 And when the unclean 
spirit had torn him, and cried with a 
loud voice, he came out of him. 27 
And they were all amazed, insomuch 
that they questioned among them- 
selves, saying. What thing is this ? 
what new doctrine is this ? for with 
authority commandeth he even the 
unclean spirits, and they do obey him. 

St. Mark having given an account of our 
Saviour's doctrine which he preached, verse 
15, namely, the doctrine of faith and repent- 
ance, he now acquaints us in the remaining 
part of this chapter with the miracles which 
he wrought for the confirming of his doctrine, 
and they are three. First, The casting of a de- 
vil out of one possessed, veTse23. Secondly, 
The curing of Peter's ■wife's tnother of a fe- 
ver, verse 29. Th\x(l\y,'ihQcleansi)igofthe 
leper, from verse 40, to the end of the chap- 
ter. His first miracle was the casting a devil 
out of one possessed. There tras a t/iaji 
with an unclean spirit; That is, an unclean 
spirit did enter into him, and bodily pos- 
sess him. Amongst the many calamities 
which sin has brought upon our bodies, 
this is one, that we are liable to be bodily 
possessed by Satan. The devil has an 
inveterate malice against mankind, seeking 
to ruin our souls by his suggestions and 
temptations, and to destroy our bodies by 
some means or other : but, blessed be God, 
though his malice be infinite, yet his power 
is limited and bounded; as he cannot do 
all the mischief he would, so he shall not 
do all he can, O how much is it our in- 
terest, as well as our duty, by prayer to put 
ourselves morning and evening under the 
divine protection, that we may be preserved 
from the power and malice of evil spirits ! 
Observe, 2, The attribute or title given to 
the devil, he is called an unclean spirit. 
The devils, those wicked spirits of hell, are 
most impure and filthy creatures ; impure 
by means of their original apostasy ; impure 
by means of their actual and daily sins, such 
as murder, malice, lying, and the like, by 
which they continually pollute themselves; 
impure by means of their continual desire 
and endeavour to pollute mankind with the 
contagion of their own sin. Lord, how 
foul is the nature of sin, which makes the 
devil such a foul and unclean creature ! Ob- 
serve, 3. This unclean spirit no sooner saw 
Christ, but he cried out. Whence note, 



Chap. I. 



ST. MARK. 



171 



That the greatness of Christ's power (being 
the Son of God) over devils and wicked 
spirits is such, that it is very terrible and 
tormenting to them ; it was terrible to them 
in his state of humiliation on earth, and 
made them then cry out. But oh, how ter- 
rible will his power be to them at the great 
day, when Christ shall come in flaming fire, 
to render vengeance b»th to men and devils ! 
Observe, 4. The substance of the devil's 
outcry ; Let ?is alone, what have we to do 
with thee ? Art thou come to destror/ us ? 
Where note, That though the devils are 
now as full of sin and discontent as they 
can be, yet are they not so full of misery 
and torment as they shall be. Art thou 
come to torment us before the time ? says 
St. Matthew, chap. viii. 29. Art thou 
come to destroy us ? says St. Mark : that 
is to bring upon us our full and final 
destruction. Implying, that the devil has 
not yet his full judgment and complete 
damnation. Therefore there is certainly a 
day of judgment to come, and the devils 
are in chains of darkness, reserved to the 
judgment of that great day. But some by 
these words, Art thou come to destroy us ?- 
understand as much as, " Art thou come to 
restrain us from the exercise of our power ?" 
Learn we thence. That the devil thinks him- 
self destroyed when he is restrained from 
doing mischief. Observe, 5. The title 
which the devil put upon our Saviour; Jesus 
of Nazareth, the Holy One of God. Al- 
though there was ground for the common 
people's calling Christ, Jesus of Nazareth, 
because he was bred and brought up there, 
and lived there during his private life, till 
about thirty years of age ; though he was 
not born there, but at Bethlehem ; yet it is 
conceived that the devil gave this title to our 
Saviour in policy, to disguise the place of 
Christ's nativity, that so the Jews might 
not believe him to be the true Messiah, 
because he was of Nazareth, whereas the 
Messiah was to come out of Bethleliem. 
Therefore to the intent that the Jews might 
be at the greater loss concerning Christ, and 
in doubt of his being the true Messiah, the 
devil here calls him not Jesus of Bethlehem, 
but Jesus of Nazareth. But how comes 
the next title out of the devil's mouth ; The 
Holy One of God ? Could an apostle, 
could Peter himself, make a profession be- 
yond this ? But how comes the devil to 
make it ? For no good end or purpose, we 
may be sure ; for he never speaks truth for 
truth's sake, but for advantage. Probably, 
(1.) He made this profession, that so he 



might bring the truth professed into suspi- 
cion, hoping that a truth which received 
testimony from the father of lies would be 
suspected. (2.) It might perhaps be done 
that the people might believe that our Sa- 
viour had some familiarity with Satan, and 
did work miracles by his help, because he 
did confess him, and seem so much to 
honour him. From this instance and ex- 
ample learn. That it is possible for a person 
to own and acknowledge Christ to be the 
true and only Saviour, and yet to miss of 
salvation by him. If a speculative know- 
ledge, and a verbal profession, of Christ, 
were sufficient to salvation, the devil him- 
self would not miss of happiness. Observe, 
6. How our Saviour rebukes the devil for 
his confession, and commands him silence; 
And Jesus rebuked him, sayinf!. Hold thy 
peace. But why was this rebuke given the 
devil when he spake the truth ? Ans. 1. 
Because Christ knew that the devil confessed 
this truth on purpose to disgrace the truth. 
2. Because the devil was no fit person to 
make this profession. A testimony of truth 
from the father of lies is enough to render 
truth itself suspected. Yet the devil's evi- 
dence, that Christ was the holy One of 
God, will rise up in judgment against the 
wicked Pharisees, who shut their eyes 
against the miracles, and stop their ears 
against the doctrine, of the Holy One nf 
God. Observe lastly. How the unclean 
spirit obeys the voice of Christ, though with 
great reluctance and regret. When the 
wiclean spirit had torn him, and cried 
with a loud voice, he came out. Christ is 
Lord over the wicked angels, and has an 
absolute power and authority to overrule 
them, and command them at his pleasure; 
if Christ says to the evil spirit. Come out, 
out he must come. Yet observe the devil's 
spite at parting, he tears the inan, tortures 
his body, throws him violently from place 
to place, showing how loth he was to be 
dispossessed. Where Satan has once gotten 
an hold, and settled himself for a time, how 
unwilling is he to be cast out of possession ! 
yea, it is a torture and vexation to hitn to 
be cast out: it is much easier to keep him out 
than to cast him out. Satan may possess the 
body by God's permission, but he cannot 
possess our hearts without our own consent 
and approbation : it will be our wisdom to 
deny him entrance into our souls at first, 
by rejecting his wicked motions and sug- 
gestions ; for when once entered, he will, 
like the strong vian armed, keep the house 
till a stronger than he casts him out. 



172 



ST. MARK 



Chap. I. 



28 And immediately his fame 
spread abroad throughout all the 
region round about Galilee. 29 
And forthwith, when they were 
come out of the synagogue, they 
entered into the house of Simon and 
Andrew, with James and John. 30 
But Simon's wife's mother lay sick 
of a fever ; and anon they tell him 
of her. 31 And he came and took 
her by the hand, and lifted her up ; 
and immediately the fever left her, 
and she ministered unto them. 

The second miracle which our Saviour 
wrought in this chapter, to confirm the 
truth and authority of his doctrine, was 
his raising up of Peter's -wifes mother from 
her bed of sickness. Where note, 1 . That 
St. Peter, now a disciple, and afterwards 
an apostle, was a married person. Neither 
the prophets of the Old Testament, nor 
the ministers of the New, did abhor the 
marriage-bed, nor think themselves too 
pure for an institution of their Maker. The 
church of Rome, by denying the lawfulness 
of priests' marriage, makes herself wiser 
than God, who says, Heb. xiii. 4. Mar- 
riavre is horiourahle amongst all men. 
Observe, 2. Peter, though a good man, 
and his wife's mother probably a gracious 
woman, yet is his family visited with 
sickness ; strength of grace, and dearness 
of respect even from Christ himself, cannot 
prevail against diseases. God's own chil- 
dren are visited with bodily sickness as 
well as others. Observe, 3. The charitable 
care of St. Peter, and the other disciples, 
forthwith to acquaint Christ with the 
condition of this sick person, Anon theij 
tell him of her. The care of our fellow- 
christians, especially when of the number 
of our near and dear relations, in a time 
of sickness, is not to be deferred or de- 
layed. Outward help for their bodies, 
and the spiritual help of our prayers for 
their souls, are both straightway to be 
afforded them. Observe, 4. Christ's 
divine power manifested in this miraculous 
cure : lie no sooner took her bij the hand 
but the fever left her. The miracle was 
not in curing an incurable distemper, but 
in curing an ordinary distemper after a 
miraculous manner; namely, 1. By a 
touch of the hand. 2. The recovery was 
instantaneous and sudden : Immediatelr/ 
the fever left her. 3. The visible effects 



of her recovery instantly appeared : She 
arose and ministered unto Christ and his 
disciples. That she could arise, argued 
her cure miraculous; that she did arise, 
and did minister to Christ, argued her 
thankfulness. Learn thence. That after 
Chrisf hath graciously healed any of us, it 
ought to be our first work and care to 
administer unto Christ ; that is, to employ 
our recovered health in the service of Christ, 
and to improve our renewed strength to 
the honour and glory of Christ. 

32 And at even, when the sun 
did set, they brought unto him all 
that were diseased, and them tliat 
were possessed with devils. 33 And 
all the city was gathered together 
at the door. 34 And he healed 
many that were sick of divers dis- 
eases, and cast out many devils ; 
and suffered not the devils to speak, 
because they knew him. 

The evangelist here declares sundry 
other miracles wrought by our Saviour be- 
fore the door of St. Peter's house, where he 
now was ; he healed all the diseased that 
were brought unto him, and cast devils out 
of them that were possessed with them. 
But how comes it to pass, that we read of 
so many possessed with devils in our Sa- 
viour's time, and so few either before or 
since? Ans. 1. Probably Satan, perceiv- 
ing that the Messiah was come in the flesh 
to destroy his kingdom, did rage the more, 
and discover great malice and enmity 
against mankind. 2. Perhaps Almighty 
God permitted Satan at that time to pos- 
sess so many, that Christ might have occa- 
sion to manifest his divine power by cast- 
ing Satan out : and accordingly we find 
our Saviour dispossessing al! that were pos- 
sessed by Satan. It is added, that he suf 
fered not the devils to speak, becnnse they 
knew him. That is, Christ would not be 
made known to be the Son of God by the 
preaching of the devil, to whom it belong- 
ed not to publish the gospel, lest the world 
should take from thence an occasion to 
think that our Saviour held a correspon- 
dence with those wicked spirits, and that 
the miracles he wrought were performed 
by the devil's assistance, as being one in 
combination with him. Possibly from the 
devil's owning Christ to be the Holy One 
of God, the Pharisees concluded that there 
was a compact and agreement betwixt 
them, and thereupon their affirmation wa? 



Chap. I. 



ST. MARK. 



173 



grounded, He caskth out devils by Beel- 
zcbub, S^c. 

35 And in the morning:, rising 
up a great while before day, he 
went out, and departed into a soli- 
tary place, and there prayed. 

Observe here, 1. The duty performed 
by our Saviour, namely, prayer, solitary 
and private prayer. He went by himself 
alone, out of the hearing of his disciples. 
The company of our best friends is not 
always seasonable, nor acceptable : there 
are times and cases when a christian would 
not be willing that his dearest relations 
upon earth should hear that intercourse 
which passes betwixt him and his God. 
Observe, 2. Christ chooses the opportunity 
of the moruing for prayer, he rises a great 
while before day to set about this work. 
Teaching us, that the morning is a fit sea- 
son, yea, the best season, for private duties : 
now our spirits are freshest and our minds 
freest, before the distractions of the day 
break in upon us. It is better to go from 
prayer to business, than from business to 
prayer. 

36 And Simon and they that 
were with him, followed after him. 
37 And when they had found him, 
they said unto him, All men seek 
for thee. 38 And he said unto 
them. Let us go into the next 
towns, that I may preach there also : 
for therefore came 1 forth. 39 And 
he preached in their synagogues 
throughout all Galilee, and cast out 
devils. 

Observe here two things : First, the 
great end of Christ in his incarnation and 
coming into the world, namely, as a Pro- 
phet sent from God to reveal his will, and 
to publish the doctrine of the gospel. 
Therefore came J forth ; that is, to preach 
and plant the gospel. Secondly, It being 
Christ's design not only to plant but to 
propagate the gospel, he would not confine 
his ministry to any particular places, no, 
not to the great city of Capernaum, but 
resolves to preach the word in the smallest 
towns and villages. Leaving his ministers 
herein an instructive example, to be as 
willing to preach the gospel in the smallest 
villages, as in the largest cities, if God 
calls them thereunto. Let the place be 
never so obscure and mean, and the con- 



gregation never so small and little, if 
God sends us thither, the greatest of us 
must not think it beneath us to go and 
instruct a handful of people. 

40 And there came a leper to 
him, beseeching him, and kneeling 
down to him, and saying unto him. If 
thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. 
41 And Jesus, moved with com- 
passion, put forth his hand, and 
touched him, and saith unto him, I 
will ; be thou clean. 42 And as 
soon as he had spoken, immediately 
the leprosy departed from him, and 
he was cleansed. 43 And he straitly 
charged him, and forthwith sent 
him away; 44 And saith unto 
him. See thou say nothing to any 
man : but go thy way, show thyself 
to the priest, and oft'er for thy 
cleansing those things which Moses 
commanded, for a testimony unto 
them. 45 But he went out, and 
began to publish it much, and to 
blaze abroad the matter, insomuch 
that Jesus could no more openly 
enter into the city, but was without 
in desert places : and they came to 
him from every quarter. 

The last miracle of our Saviour's record- 
ed in this chapter, is the healing of a leper ; 
he came, beseeching Christ to heal him, 
saying. If thou wilt, thou canst make me 
clean. Where observe, 1. He doth not 
question Christ's power, but distrusts 
Christ's willingness to heal him ; Lord, if 
thou wilt, thou canst. Christ's divine 
power must be fully assented to, and firmly 
believed, by all those that expect benefit 
by him, and healing from him. Observe, 
2. The great readmess of Christ to help 
and heal this distressed person. Jesus 
touched him, saying, I will; he thou clean. 
By the ceremonial law, the leper was for- 
bidden to be touched, therefore Christ's 
touching the leper showed him to be above 
the law, and that he was the Lord of it, 
and might dispense with it ; and his heal- 
ing the leper by the word of his mouth, 
and touch of his hand, showed him to be 
truly and really God. Leprosy among 
the Jews was an incurable distemper, called 
the finger of God, a disease of his sending, 
and of his removing. Our Saviour there- 
fore, as a proof of his being the true Mes- 



174 



ST. MARK. 



Chap. r. 



siah, tells John's disciples, Matt. xi. 5. 
that the lepers -were cleansed, and the 
dead raised by him; which two being 
joined together, do imply, that the clean- 
sing of lepers is as much an act of divine 
power as the raising of the dead. And 
accordmgly, 2 Kings v. 7. it is said. Am 
I God, that this man sends to me to cure 
a man of his leprosy ? Observe, 3. The 
certainty and suddenness of the cure was a 
proof of Christ's divine power ; immedi- 
ately his leprosy tsas cleansed. Christ 
not" only cured him without means, but 
without the ordinary time required for 
such a cure. Thus Christ showed both 
power and will to cure him miraculously, 
who believed his power, but questioned 
his willingness. Observe, 4. The cause, 
moving our Saviour to cure this leper ; 
his bowels were moved with tender pity 
and compassion towards him. Christ's 
exercising acts of mercy and compassion, 
with such condolency and sympathizing 
pity, should by way of example teach us 
to be inwardly moved with tender com- 
passion and mercy towards such as are in 
misery. We are not only to draw out our 
bread, but to draw out our soul, to the 
hungry. Observe, 5. A twofold charge 
and command given by Christ to the leper 
after his cure. First, to conceal and tell 
it to no man. Where the great modesty, 
humility, and piety of Christ, is discovered, 
together with the care of his own safety. 
His modesty, in not desiring his good 
deeds should be published and proclaimed ; 
his humility, in shunning vain-glorious 
applause and commendation ; his piety, 
in desiring all honour and glory should 
redound entirely to God. And the care 
of his own safety appeared, lest the pub- 
lishing of his miracles should create him 
untimely danger from the Pharisees. The 
second part of the charge given to the 
recovered leper, was, to show himself to 
the priest, and offer the gift which Moses 
cojmnanded for a testimony unto them ; 
that is, to testify to the Jews, that he did 
not oppose the ceremonial law, which re- 
quired a thank-offering at his hand, and 
that he was the true and promised Mes- 
siah. Learn thence. That our Saviour 
would have the ceremonial law punctually 
observed so long as the time for its con- 
tinuance did endure ; though he came to 
destroy that law, yet, whilst it stood, he 
would have it punctually observed. Ob- 
serve, 6. Notwithstanding our Saviour's 
strict prohibition, the leper publishes the 



fame of this miracle. It is likely his inten- 
tion might be good, in extolling his great 
Benefactor ; but his acting contrary to 
Christ's command was a fault, and shows 
the corruption of human nature, in being 
most forward to that which is most for- 
bidden. It is a sin to do any thing 
against the command of Christ, though 
with never so good a meaning, purpose, 
and intention, to exalt and honour Christ. 
Observe lastly, The inconveniences which 
attended our Saviour upon this indis- 
creet publication of the miracle ; and 
they were two: 1. Our Saviour could no 
more enter into Capernaum, and other 
cities, to preach in an open manner, as he 
had done, by reason of the great concourse 
of people after him. 2. The fame of this 
miracle brought the people about him /rom 
all quarters ; not so much to hear as to 
see ; not so much to hear his holy and 
heavenly doctrine which he taught, as to 
gratify their curiosity with the sight of the 
miracles which he wrought. O how many 
thronged after Christ, more to have their 
bodily diseases cured, than their souls 
healed ! Christ desired not their flocking 
after him upon this account ; therefore he 
retires from the breath of popular applause : 
he would not openly enter into the city, 
but urns -without in desert places. O how 
great humility ! How little did our blessed 
Redeemer regard the applause and com- 
mendation of men ! Constantly we find 
him, as soon as his public preaching and 
working of miracles was over, withdrawing 
himself from the multitude into some pri- 
vate place apart : he doth not stay in the 
crowd with his ear open to listen how 
men admire the preacher, and applaud 
the sermon. Plainly showing, that he 
sought his Father's glory, not his own 
praise or the people's commendation ; 
leaving his example as an Instructive pat- 
tern to all his ministers and ambassadors, 
to take heed of vain-glory ; not to affect 
popularity, or to seek the applause and 
commendation of men in what they do, 
resolving that man's opinion shall be 
nothing with them, but that the pleasing 
of God, and doing their duty to the souls 
of their people, shall always be their whole 
scope. 

CHAP. n. 
A ND again he entered into Caper- 
naum after some days ; and it 
was noised that he was in the 
house. 2 And straightway many 



Chap. II. ST. MARK. 

were gathered together, insomuch 
that there was no room to receive 
them, no, not so much as about the 
door : and he preached the word 
unto them. 

In the last verse of the foregoing chapter 
we find how industriously our blessed Sa- 
viour withdrew himself from the concourse 
and throng of people which flocked after 
him from every quarter ; and to show how 
little he afiected the applause and com- 
mendation of the multitude, he left the 
cities and was without in desert places. 
Hereby giving his ministers an instructive 
example to decline vain-glory, and to shun 
popular applause. But now the words 
before us show that our Saviour having 
entered (privately, as is probable) into the 
citif of Capernaum, it is presently noised 
and reported that he was in the house, 
and a mighty concourse and throng of 
peopk are after him ; insomuch that 
neither the house, nor hardly the streets, 
could contain them. Thence learn. That 
such as least seek after honour and applause 
from men, are oft-times most famous and 
renowned. Our Saviour was so far from 
seeking the people's praise and commen- 
dation, that he came into Capernaum 
without observation, and betook himself 
to his dwelling-house there ; but the more 
he sought to lie hid, the more he was taken 
notice of. Honour flies from them that 
pursue it, and pursues those that fly 
from it. The way to be honoured, is to 
be humble. God seldom honours a proud 
man, by making him either eminently 
serviceable or successful. Observe farther, 
The people being come together, our 
Saviour takes the opportunity to preach : 
And he preached the word unto them. 
Teaching his ministers by his example, to 
embrace all opportunities, in season and 
out of season, on the Lord's day and on 
the week day, to edify our people by our 
ministry, by our public exhortations, by 
our private instructions, prudent admoni- 
tions, and holy examples. 

3 And they come unto him, bring- 
ing one sick of the palsy, which was 
borne of four. 4 And when they 
could not come nigh unto him for 
the press, they uncovered the roof 
where he was : and when they had 
broken it up, they let down the bed 
wherein the sick of the palsy lay. 



175 

5 When Jesus saw their faith, he 
said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, 
thy sins be forgiven thee. 6 But 
there were certain of the scribes 
sitting there, and reasoning in their 
hearts, 7 Why doth this man thus 
speak blasphemies ? who can forgive 
sins but God only ? 8 And imme- 
diately, when Jesus perceived in his 
spirit that they so reasoned within 
themselves, he said unto them. Why 
reason ye these things in your hearts? 
9 Whether is it easier to say to the 
sick of the palsy, Thy sins be for- 
given thee ; or to say. Arise, and 
take up thy bed, and walk? 10 
But that ye may know that the Son 
of man hath power on earth to for- 
give sins, (he saith to the sick of 
the palsy,) 11 I say unto thee. 
Arise, and take up thy bed, and go 
thy way into thine house. 12 And 
immediately he arose, took up the 
bed, and went forth before them all ; 
insomuch that they were all amazed, 
and glorified God, saying. We never 
saw it on this fashion. 

Here we have the relation of our Saviour's 
miraculous healing of one sick of the palsy 
at Capernaum. Where observe, 1. The 
diseased and distressed person ; one sick of 
the palsy, which disease being a resolution 
and weakness of the nerves, enfeebles the 
joints, and confines the person to his bed 
or couch. As a demonstration of Christ's 
divine power, he was pleased to single out 
the palsy and leprosy, incurable diseases, 
to work a cure upon such as were afflicted 
with them. Now this person was so 
great a cripple by reason of the palsy, that 
he was borne of four. He could not go, 
nor was capable of being led, but was 
carried by four in his bed or couch. Ob- 
serve, 2. As the grievousness of the disease, 
so the greatness of their faith. The man 
and his friends had a firm persuasion that 
Christ was clothed with a divine power, 
and able to help him, and they hoped in 
his goodness that he was also willing to help 
him. Accordingly, the roof of the Jewish 
houses being flat, they uncovered some 
part of it, and let the bed down with the 
sick man in it into the room where Christ 
was. Observe, 3. No sooner did they 
exercise their faith in believing, but Christ 



176 



exerts his divine power in healing. And 
see the marvellous efficacy of faith ; it 
obtained not only whai was desired, but 
more than was expected. They desired 
only the healing of the body, but Christ 
heals body and soul too. So)i, he of good 
cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee. Thereby 
our Saviour shows them, that sin is the 
original cause of all bodily diseases ; and 
consequently, that in sickness, the best 
way to find ease and deliverance from 
pain, is first to seek for pardon. The 
sense of pardon in some degree will take 
away the sense of pain. Observe, 4. The 
exception which the scribes took against 
our Saviour for pronouncing that this man's 
sins were forgiven him. They accuse him 
of the sin of blasphemy : urging, that it 
is God's peculiar prerogative to pardon sin. 
Their doctrine was true, but their appli- 
cation false. Nothing more true, than 
that it is the greatest degree of blasphemy 
for any mere man to arrogate to himself 
the incommunicable prerogative of God, 
which consists in an absolute and authori- 
tative power to forgive sin. But then their 
denying this power to Christ of forgiving 
sin, which he had as God from all eter- 
nity, and as Mediator, God and man in 
one person, when here upon earth ; this 
was blasphemy in them ; the challenging 
of it, none in him. Observe, 5. Our 
Saviour gives these scribes a twofold de- 
monstration of his Godhead, (1.) By letting 
them understand that he knew their 
thoughts : Jesus perceiving in his spirit 
that thei/ reasoned within themselves. 
To search the hearts, and to know the 
thoughts and reasonings of men, is not 
in the power of angels or men, but the 
prerogative of God only. (2.) By as- 
suming to himself a power to forgive sin : 
for our Saviour here, by assuming to 
himself a power to forgive sins in his own 
name, and by his own authority, doth 
give the world an undeniable proof and 
convincing evidence of his Godhead. For 
who can forgive sins but God onh/ ? 
Observe, 6. The eifcct of this miracle 
upon the minds of the people; they mar- 
velled and were amazed, but did not be- 
lieve. They admire our Saviour for an 
extraordinary man, but did not believe 
him to be God. Learn thence. That the 
sight of Christ's miracles is not sufiicient 
to work faith in the soul, without the 
concurring operation of the Holy Spirit. 
The one may make us marvel, the other 
must make us believe 



ST. MARK. Chap. II. 

13 And he went forth again by 
the sea-side ; and all the multitude 
resorted unto him, and he taught 
them. 14 And as he passed by, 
he saw Levi the son of Alpheus, 
sitting at the receipt of custom, 
and said unto him. Follow me. And 
he arose and followed him, 15 And 
it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat 
at meat in his house, many publi- 
cans and sinners sat also together 
with Jesus and his disciples : for 
there were many, and they followed 
him. 16 And when the scribes and 
Pharisees saw him eat with publicans 
and sinners, they said unto his dis- 
ciples, How is it that he eateth and 
drinketh with publicans and sin- 
ners ? 17 When Jesus heard it, 
he saith unto them. They that are 
whole have no need of the phy- 
sician, but they that are sick : I 
come not to call the righteous, but 
sinners to repentance. 

Observe here, 1. The unwearied pains and 
diligence which our Saviour used in the exe- 
cution of his ministerial office and calling ; 
no sooner had he done preaching in Caper- 
naum, and healing the sick of the palsy? 
but he goeth out thence to the sea-side to 
preach there. O blessed Saviour ! How 
perpetually wert thou employed in the 
labours of thy calling, in the service of thy 
Father, and for the good of mankind! 
Thou wentest about doing good, setting 
a pattern for all thy ministers to follow. 
How doth the example of thy laborious 
diligence at once instruct and shame us ! 
Observe, 2. The number of our Lord's 
disciples not being filled up, observe what 
a free and gracious, unexpected and un- 
deserved, choice he makes. Levi, that 
is, Matthew, (for he hath both names,) 
a grinding publican, who gathered the 
taxes for the Romans, and was probably 
guilty, as others were, of the sins of co- 
vetousness, extortion, and oppression ; 
yet he is called to follow Christ as a 
special disciple. Learn thence. That such 
is the freeness of God's grace, that it calls 
and converts sinners unto Christ when 
Ihey think not of him, nor seek unto him. 
Little did Levi now think of a Saviour, 
much less seek after him, yet he is at this 
time called by him. Matthew, a publican. 



Chap. II. 



ST. MARK. 



177 



Zaccheus, an extortioner, Saul, a persecu- 
tor, all these are brought home to God, 
as instances and evidences of the mighty 
power of converting grace. Observe, 3. 
Matthew's ready compliance with Christ's 
call ; he arose, and foUoued him. When the 
inward call of the Holy Spirit accompanieth 
the outward call of the word, tiie soul readi- 
ly complies, and presently yields obedience 
to the voice of Christ. Christ oft-times 
speaks by his word to our ears, and we 
hear not, we stir not; but when he speaks 
by his Spirit efficaciously to our hearts, 
Satan shall not hold us down, the world 
shall not keep us back, but we shall with 
Levi instantly arise and follow our Saviour. 
Observe, 4. Levi, or Matthew, to show his 
thankfulness to Christ, makes him a great 
feast. Christ invited Matthew to a disciple- 
ship, Matthew invites Christ to a dinner. 
The servant invites his Master, a sinner 
invites his Saviour. We do not find, that 
when Christ was invited to any table, that 
he ever refused to go : if a publican, if a 
Pharisee invited him, he constantly went ; 
not so much for the pleasure of eating, as 
for the opportunity of conversing and doing 
good. Christ feasts us when we feast him. 
Learn hence, That new converts are full of 
affection towards Christ, and very expres- 
sive in their love unto him. Matthew, 
touched with a sense of Christ's rich love, 
makes him a royal feast. Observe, 5. The 
cavil and exception which the scribes and 
Pharisees made at our Lord's free conver- 
sation. They censure him for conversing 
with sinners; he justifies himself, telling 
them, that he conversed with them as their 
physician, not as their companion. Thet/ 
that are tuhole need no physician, says 
Christ, but tliey that are sick. As if 
our Lord had said, " With whom should 
a physician converse, but with his sick 
patients ? Now I am come into the world 
to do the office of a kind physician unto 
men, surely then I am to take all opportu- 
nities of conversing with them, that I may 
help and heal them, for they that are sick 
need the physician : but as for you scribes 
and Pharisees, who are well and whole in 
your own opinion and conceit, I have no 
hopes of doing good upon you : for such 
as think themselves whole desire no physi- 
cian's help." From this assertion of our 
Saviour these truths are suggested to us, 1. 
That sin is the soul's malady, its spiritual 
disease and sickness. 2. That Christ is the 
Physician appointed by God for the cure 
and healing of this disease. 3. That there 



are multitudes of sinners spiritually sick, 
who yet think themselves sound and whole. 
4. That such, and only such, as find and 
feel themselves spiritually sick, are the sub- 
jects capable of Christ's healing. Thet/ 
that are whole need not the physician, 
hut they that are sick. I came not to 
call the (opiniatively) righteous, but the 
(sensible) sinner to repentance. 

18 And the disciples of John and 
of the Pharisees used to fast : and 
they come and say unto him, Why 
do the disciples of John and of the 
Pharisees fast, but thy disciples fast 
not ? 19 And Jesus said unto them. 
Can the children of the bride-cham- 
ber fast while the bridegroom is 
with them ? as long as they have 
the bridegroom with them, they 
cannot fast. 20 But the days will 
come when the bridegroom shall be 
taken away from them, and then 
shall they fast in those days. 21 
No man also seweth a piece of new 
cloth on an old garment : else the 
new piece that filled it up taketh 
away from the old, and the rent is 
made worse. 22 And no man put- 
teth new wine into old bottles, else 
the new wine doth burst the bottles, 
and the wine is spilled, and the bot- 
tles will be marred : but new wine 
must be put into new bottles. 

Observe here, 1. A great difference be- 
twixt John's disciples and Christ's in the 
matter of fasting. John's disciples imitated 
him, who was a man of an austere life, and 
much given to fasting ; therefore he is said 
to come neither eating nor drinking. 
Matt. xi. 18. On the other side, Christ's 
disciples follow him, who came eating and 
drinking, as other men did ; and yet, 
though there was a great difference betwixt 
John's disciples and Christ's in matters of 
practice, they were all of one faith and re- 
ligion. Thence learn, That there may be 
unity of faith and religion among those 
who do not maintain an uniformity in 
practice. Men may differ in some outward 
religious observances and customs, and yet 
agree in the fundamentals of faith and re- 
ligion. Thus did John's disciples and 
Christ's ; the one fasted often, the other 
fasted not. Observe, 2. In that the disci- 
ples of the Pharisees used to fast as well as 

N 



178 



ST. MARK. 



Chap. II. 



John's disciples, we may learn, That hypo- 
crites and wicked men may be, aad some- 
times are, as strict and forward in the out- 
ward duties of religion, as the holiest and 
best of christians : they pray, they fast, 
they hear the word, they receive the sacra- 
ments : they do, yea, it may be, they out- 
do and go beyond, the sincere christian in 
external duties and outward performances. 
Observe, 3, The defensative plea which our 
blessed Saviour makes for the not fasting 
of his disciples: he declares that it was 
neither suitable to them, nor tolerable for 
them, thus to fast at present. Not suitable, 
in regard of Christ's bodily presence with 
them. This made it a time of joy and re- 
joicing, not of mourning and fasting. 
Christ is the Bridegroom, and his church 
the bride ; whilst therefore his spouse did 
enjoy his bodily presence with her, it was 
a day of joy and rejoicing to her, and 
mourning and fasting were improper for 
her. But when Christ's bodily presence 
shall be removed, there will be cause enough 
to fast and mourn. Again, this discipline 
of fasting was not at present tolerable for 
the disciples 5 for they were raw, green, 
and tender, not fit for austerities ; nor could 
bear as yet the severities of religion, no 
more than an old garment could bear a 
piece of new stiff cloth to be set into it, 
which will make the rent worse, if the 
garment comes to a stretch ; or no more 
than old bottles can keep new wine. As if 
our Saviour had said, " My disciples at pre- 
sent are tender and weak, newly called and 
converted ; they cannot therefore bear the 
severities of religion presently ; but ere long 
I shall leave them, and go to heaven, from 
whence I will send down the Holy Spirit 
upon them, which shall enable them to do all 
the duties which the gospel enjoins." Now 
the intended lesson of instruction from hence 
is this. That it is hurtful and dangerous for 
young converts, for weak christians, to be 
put upon the severer exercises of religion, 
or to be urged to the performance of sucli 
duties as are above their strength. But they 
ought to be handled with that tenderness 
which becomes the mild and gentle dispen- 
sation of the gospel. Our Saviour here 
commends prudence to his ministers in 
treating their people according to their 
strength, and putting them upon duties 
according to their time and standing. 

23 And it came to pass, that 
he went through the corn-fields on 
the sabbath-day ; and his disciples 



began, as they went, to pluck the 
ears of corn. 24 And the Phari- 
sees said unto him. Behold, why do 
they on the sabbath-day that which 
is not lawful ? 25 And he said unto 
them. Have ye never read what 
David did, when he had need, and 
was an hungred, he, and they that 
were with him "? 26 How he went 
into the house of God, in the days 
of Abiathar the high priest, and 
did eat the shew-bread, which is 
not lawful to eat but for the priests, 
and gave also to them which were 
with him ? 27 And he said unto 
them. The sabbath was made for 
n)an, and not man for the sabbath : 
28 Therefore the Son of man is 
Lord also of the sabbath. 

Observe here, 1. The poverty, the low 
estate and condition, of Christ's own disci- 
ples in this world ; they wanted bread, and 
are forced to pluck the cars of corn to 
satisfy their hunger. God may, and some- 
times doth, sutler his dearest children to 
fall into streights, to taste of want, for the 
trial of their laith, and dependence upon his 
power and providence. Observe, 2. How 
the Pharisees (who accompanied our Savi- 
our only with a design to cavil at, and 
quarrel with, every thing that either he or 
his disciples did) blame this action of the 
disciples, namely, the plucking the ears of 
corn on the sabbath-day. Yet note, (1) 
It was not any theft which the disciples 
were charged with ; for to take in our ne- 
cessity so much of our neighbour's goods as 
we may reasonably suppose that, if he were 
present, and knew our circumstances, he 
would give us, is no theft. But it is the 
servile labour on the sabbath, in gathering 
the ears of corn, which the Pharisees scruple. 
Whence observe. How zealous hypocrites 
are for the lesser things of the law, whilst 
they neglect the greater, and are supersti- 
tiously addicted to outward ceremonies, 
placing all holiness in the observation of 
them, neglecting moral duties. Observe far- 
ther, 3. How our Saviour defends the action 
of his disciples in gathering the ears of corn 
in their necessity, by the practice and exam- 
ple of David. Necessity freed him from fault 
and blame in eating the consecrated bread, 
which none but the priests might lawfully 
eat. For in cases of necessity a ceremo- 
nial precept must give way to a moral duty. 



Chap. lU ST. MARK. 

Works of mercy and necessity for preserving 
our lives, and for the better fitting us for sab- 
bath-services, are certainly lawful for the 
sabbath-day. Observe, 4. A double ar- 
gument which our Saviour uses, to prove 
that the sabbath's observation may be 
dispensed with in a case of absolute 
necessity ; 1. Drawn from the end of 
the sabbath's institution : the sabbath 
was made for man ; that is, instituted 
of God for the good and benefit of 
mankind, both with respect to their souls 
and to their bodies. The outward ob- 
serving and keeping of the sabbath 
is subordinate to the good of man, and 
therefore the good of man is to be preferred 
before the outward keeping of the sabbath. 
2. Argument is drawn from the authority 
which Christ, the liistitutor of the sabbath, 
has over it. The Son of man is Lord also 
of the sabbath ; that is, he has authority 
and power, both as God and as Mediator, 
to institute and appoint a sabbath, to alter 
and change the sabbath, to dispense with 
the breach of it upon a just and great oc- 
casion ; and consequently, acts of mercy, 
which tend to fit us for works of piety, not 
only may, but ought to be done upon the 
sabbath-day : which was the proposition 
which our Saviour undertook to prove. 
CHAP. III. 
AND he entered again into the 
synagogue ; and there was a 
man tliere which had a withered 
hand. 2 And they watched him, 
whether he would heal him on the 
sabbath-day ; that they might ac- 
cuse him. 3 And he saith unto the 
man which had the withered hand. 
Stand forth. 4 And he saith unto 
them. Is it lawful to do good on the 
sabbath-days, or to do evil } to save 
life, or to kill ? But they held their 
peace. 

The former part of this chapter reports to 
us a miraculous cure wrought by Christ 
upon a man who had a withered hand. 
The place where he wrought it, was the 
synagogue ; the time when, was the sab- 
bath-day ; the manner how, was by speak- 
ing a word ; the persons before whom, 
were the envious and malicious Pharisees. 
These men were always cavilling at our 
Saviour's doctrine, and slandering his mi- 
racles y yet our Saviour goes on with his 
work before their faces, without either in- 
terruption or discouragement. Learn thence. 



179 



That the unjust censures and malicious 
cavils of wicked men against us for well- 
doing, must not discourage us from doing 
our duty, either towards God, or towards 
our neighbour. Though the Pharisees 
watched our Saviour, and when their envy 
and malice could find no occasion of ouar- 
rel, they could invent and make one ; yet 
such was our Lord's courage and resolu- 
tion, that he bids the man -which had the 
withered ha/id, stand forth : to show that 
he was resolved to heal him, notwithstand- 
ing their malicious purpose to accuse him 
for it as a breaker of the sabbath. Oppo- 
sition met with in doing our duty, must not 
discourage us from doing good, if we will fol- 
low the example of our blessed Redeemer. 

5 And when he had looked round 
about on them with an<;er, being 
grieved for the hardness of their 
hearts, he saith unto the man. 
Stretch forth thine hand. And he 
stretched it out : and his hand was 
restored whole as the other. 

Observe here, L The Pharisees' sinful 
and graceless disposition, and that was hard- 
ness of heart. The heart of man is naturally 
hard, and full of obstinacy and enmity 
against Christ : but there is an acquired 
hardness, which continuance in sin oc- 
casions ; the Pharisees laboured under 
both. Observe, 2. A double affection which 
this hardness of heart found in the Phari- 
sees did stir up in Christ ; namely, anger 
and indignation, grief and commiseration : 
He was grieved for the hardness of their 
hearts. Learn hence, L That human pas- 
sions are not sinful, and that the christian 
religion doth not destroy natural affections. 
2. That anger at sin, either in ourselves or 
others, if kept within its due bounds, is not 
only lawful but commendabb. This pas- 
sion of anger was found in him, in whom 
was no sin. 3. That our anger against 
sin ought to be acconpanied with grief 
and compassion towards sinners. We 
should pour out our tears of compassion, 
when men pour forth their abominations. 
4. That of all sins, hardness of heart and 
unbelief are most grievous and offensive, 
most displeasing aud provoking to Jesus 
Christ : He looked about with anger, be- 
ing grieved for the hardness of their 
hearts. Observe, 3. The sudden and in- 
stantaneous cure which our Saviour wrought 
upon the man that had the withered hand : 
our Saviour did not touch him, but 
only said to him. Stretch forth thy hand, 
n2 



180 



ST. MARK. 



Chap. III. 



and it was presently cured. Learn hence, 
That Christ's having absolute power over 
all bodily diseases and infirmities, to cure 
them miraculously without means, only 
by a word speaking, is one argument that 
proves him to be truly and really God. 

6 And the Pharisees went forth, 
and straightway took counsel with 
the Herodians against him, how they 
might destroy him. 7 But Jesus 
withdrew himself with his disciples 
to the sea : and a great multitude 
from Galilee followed him, and from 
Judea, 8 And from Jerusalem, and 
from Idumea, and from beyond Jor- 
dan ; and they about Tyre and Si- 
don, a great multitude, when they 
had heard what great things he did, 
came unto him. 9 And he spake 
to his disciples, that a small ship 
should wait on him because of the 
multitude, lest they should throng 
him. 10 For he had healed many ; 
insomuch that they pressed upon 
him for to touch him, as many as 
had plagues. 11 And unclean 
spirits, when they saw him, fell 
down before him, and cried, saying, 
Thou art the Son of God. 12 And 
he straitly charged them that they 
should not make him known. 

Observe here, 1. What dismal effects 
this famous miracle of Christ had upon 
the Pharisees and Herodians. Instead of 
being convinced by it, they conspire 
against him for it. These Herodians and 
Pharisees were of different opinions, ene- 
mies to one another, yet they join together 
in seeking the death of Christ. The Pha- 
risees were against paying tribute to Caesar, 
looking upon themselves as a free people, 
and accounting the Roman emperor an 
usurper. The Herodians were for it. 
Herod being made by the Roman emperor 
king of the Jews, was zealous for having 
the Jews pay tribute to Caesar ; and such 
of the Jews as sided with him, particularly 
his courtiers and favourites, were styled 
Herodians ; but both Pharisees and He- 
rodians take counsel against Christ. 
Learn thence, That unity and consent is 
of itself alone far from being a mark and 
note of the true church. Unity in the 
faith and doctrine of Christ, and in the 
profession and practice of the true religion, 



is a note indeed of the true church : but 
unity in opposing Christ, his person, his 
doctrine, his people, is so far from being 
a mark of the true church, that it is the 
badge of the antichristian synagogue. 
Observe, 2. The prudent means which 
our Saviour uses to preserve himself from 
the rage of the Pharisees, he u-ithchew 
himself from them. Christ's example 
teaches his ministers their duty in a time 
of danger to fly from persecution, and to 
endeavour to preserve their lives, unless 
when their sufferings are like to do more 
good than their lives. Observe, 3. The 
great zeal and forwardness of the people 
in flocking after our Saviour's ministry : 
people come now at first from all places 
and countries, from Judea, from Idumea, 
from beyond Jordan, from Tyre and 
Sid on, to hear his doctrine, and see his mira- 
cles. The people came from all parts when 
our Saviour first began to preach. His 
ministers find it thus : at their first coming 
amongst a people their labours are most 
acceptable, and they do most good ; our 
people's affections are then warmest, and 
perhaps our own too. Observe, 4. What 
sort of people they were which attended 
thus zealously upon our Saviour's ministry, 
they were the common and ordinary peo- 
ple ; the poor received the gospel ; whilst 
the Pharisees, and other men of most ac- 
count, the mighty, the noble, and the 
wise men after the flesh, despised our 
Saviour's person, slighted his ministry, and 
sought his life. The ordinary and mean- 
est sort of people ever have been more 
zealous and forward in embracing the gos- 
pel, than ever the great, and the rich, and 
the honourable part of the world have 
been. It is a sad but a certain truth, 
heaven is the place where few, compa- 
ratively, of the great men of tire world, 
are like to come; their temptations are 
many, their lusts are strong, and their 
great estates, through their own abuse, be- 
come fuel to their lusts. Observe, 5. The 
behaviour of these unclean spirits (the 
devils) towards our Saviour, and our 
Saviour's carriage towards them : they 
fall down at the very sight of him, they 
cry out, and confess him to be the Son 
of God ; but he sharply rebukes them, 
and charges them that they should not 
make him known. Not that our Sa- 
viour would have the knowledge of his 
person suppressed, but because the devils 
were not fit persons to preach Jesus Christ. 
A truth out of the mouth of the father of 



Chap. III. 



ST. MARK. 



181 



lies, is enough to render truth itself sus- 
pected. Besides, the time appointed for 
the full and clear manifestation of the 
Godhead of Christ was not yet come. This 
was not to be done till after his resurrec- 
tion ; the divine nature was to be hid 
under the veil of Christ's flesh, during his 
state of humiliation and abasement. 

13 And he goeth up into a moun- 
tain, and calleth 7mto him whom he 
would ; and they came unto him. 

14 And he ordained twelve, that 
they should be with him, and that 
he might send them forth to preach. 

15 And to have power to heal sick- 
nesses, and to cast out devils : IG 
And Simon he surnamed Peter : 17 
And James the son of Zebedce, and 
John the brother of James ; (and he 
surnamed them Boanerges, which is. 
The sons of Thunder;) 18 And 
Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholo- 
mew, and Matthew, and Thomas, 
and James the son of Alpheus, and 
Thaddeus, and Simon theCanaanite, 
19 And Judas Iscariot, which also 
betrayed him : and they went into 
an house. 

As the Jewish church arose from twelve 
patriarchs, so the christian church became 
planted by twelve apostles. The person 
commissioning them was Christ ; none 
may undertake the work and calling of 
the ministry, but those whom Christ 
appoints and calls. The persons commis- 
sioned were disciples before they were 
apostles; to teach us, that Christ will 
have such as preach the gospel to be dis- 
ciples before they are ministers ; trained 
up in the faith and doctrine of the gospel, 
before they undertake a public charge. 
Observe farther. The holy preparative 
which our Saviour uses in order to this 
election of his apostles •, he goeth up into a 
mountain to,pray upon that great occasion. 
So says St. Luke, chap. vi. 12. He 'went 
up into a mountain to pray, and spent 
the night in prayer to God, And ivhcn 
it •was day, he called his disciples, and of 
them he chose twelve. In this prayer no 
doubt he pleaded with liis Father to fur- 
nish all those that were to be sent forth by 
him with ajl ministerial gifts and graces. 
Learn thence, That as prayer is a necessary 
preparative to all duties, so more especially 
before the public election and ordination 



of the ministers of the church . solemn 
prayer is to be used by such as are to or- 
dain and choose them : our Lord's prac- 
tice is to be a standing rule herein to all 
church-officers. Observe again. Though 
Christ called his apostles now, yet he did 
not send them forth now : He ordained 
twelve that they should be with him. 
That is, that they might converse with 
him, and be eye-witnesses and ear-wit- 
nesses of his life, doctrine, and miracles. 
And having been thus with Christ, and 
fitted and prepared for him for their work, 
afterwards they went forth. Thence learn, 
That such as are to take upon them the office 
of the ministry, ought first to be fitted and 
prepared for it, then solemnly called to it, 
before they enterprize and undertake the 
execution of it : if the apostles here, who 
were called and qualified extraordinarily, 
were to spend some time with Christ to re- 
ceive direction and instruction from him 
before they went forth to preach ; how 
much more needful is it for such as are or- 
dinarily called, to be well fitted and fur- 
nished for the ministerial service, before 
they undertake it ? Observe next. How 
the several names of the apostles are here 
registered and recorded : God will honour 
those that honour him, and are the special 
instruments of his glory. Of these apostles 
Peter is named first, and Judas last. Peter 
is named first, because probably elder than 
the rest, or because for order sake he might 
speak before the rest. From whence may be 
inferred a primacy, but no supremacy ; ,a 
priority of order, not a superiority of degree. 
As the foreman of a grand jury has a pre- 
cedency but no pre-eminency ; he is first 
in order before the rest, but has no au- 
thority or power over the rest. Judas is 
named last, with a brand of infamy upon 
him ; that he was a traitor, the person that 
betrayed his Lord and Master. Whence 
learn. That though the truth of grace be 
absolutely necessary to a minister's salva- 
tion, yet the want of it doth not disannul 
his office, nor hinder the lawfulness of 
his ministry. Judas, though a traitor, was 
yet a lawful minister. The mission of a 
person may be valid, though he be not 
sanctified. Observe lastly. That our Sa- 
viour surnamed James and John, Boanerges, 
the Sons of Thunder. St. Jerome thinks 
this name was given them, because being 
with Christ in the mount at his transfigu- 
ration, they heard the Father's voice out 
of the cloud like thunder : others think 
them so called, because they were more 



182 

vehement aad earnest than the rest in 
preaching, and did with greater zeal and 
power sound forth the doctrine of the gos- 
pel like thunder. It is very probable, that 
Christ gave them this name from a foresight 
of the heat and zeal of their temper, of 
which they soon gave an instance, in 
desiring fire to come down from heaven to 
consume the Samaritans. 

20 And the multitude cometh 
together again, so that they could 
not so much as eat bread. 21 
And when his friends heard of it, 
they went out to lay hold on him : 
for they said, He is beside himself. 
22 And the scribes which came 
down from Jerusalem said, He hath 
Beelzebub, and by the prince of the 
devils casteth he out devils. 23 
And he called them unto him, and 
said unto them in parables. How can 
Satan cast out Satan ? 24 And if 
a kingdom be divided against itself, 
that kingdom cannot stand. 25 
And if a house be divided against 
itself, that house cannot stand. 26 
And if Satan rise up against him- 
self, and be divided, he cannot stand, 
but hath an end. 27 No man can 
enter into a strong man's house, and 
spoil his goods, except he will first 
bind the strons man ; and then he 
will spoil his house. 28 Verily I 
say unto you, All sins shall be for- 
given unto the sons of men, and 
blasphemies wherewith soever they 
shall blaspheme : 29 But he that 
shall blaspheme against the Holy 
Ghost hath never forgiveness, but 
is in danger of eternal damnation : 
30 Because they said, He hath an 
unclean spirit. 

Observe here, 1. How truly our Lord's 
words were verified, John iv. 34. Mt/ 
meat is to do the will of him that sent me : 
for he and his apostles going into an house 
to refresh themselves in their hunger, the 
people pressed upon him so fast to hear the 
word, that he regards not the satisfying of 
his hunger, but applies himself to instruct 
the people. Lord ! how exemplary was 
thy zeal and diligence in preaching the 
everlasting gospel to a lost world ! As it 
is instructive to, may it be imitated and 



ST. MARK. Chap. III. 

followed by, all thy ambassadors. Ob- 
serve, 2. The rash censure of our Saviour's 
friends, that is, his kinsmen, concerning 
this action, in neglecting to eat bread, 
and suffering the multitude thus unsea- 
sonably to press upon him. They conclude, 
he is beside himself, out of his right mind ; 
and accordingly went out to lay hold upon 
him. Learn hence, (1.) That the forward 
zeal and diligence of Christ and his minis- 
ters in preaching the gospel, is accounted 
madness and frenzy by a blind world. 
But they may say with the apostle, 2 Cor. 
V. 13. If we be beside ourselves it is to 
God. But who were persons that thus 
looked upon our Saviour as beside him- 
self? Verily his own kindred and relations 
according to the flesh. Learn hence, (2.) 
That ott-times the servants of God meet 
with the strongest temptations from, and 
are most discouraged and molested by, 
such as are their nearest relations by blood 
or alliance. This is a great trial, to find 
our relations setting us back, instead of 
helping us forward, in the ways of reli- 
gion ; but we must bear it patiently, 
knowing, that not only others of God's 
children, but Jesus Christ, his own and 
only Son, did experience this trial. Ob- 
serve, 3. The malicious and wicked slander 
which the scribes endeavoured to fix on 
our blessed Saviour ; namely, that he was 
possessed by the devil, and by a famili- 
arity with him, and help from him, cast 
forth devils out of others. Good God! 
how was thine own and only Son, the 
holy and innocent Jesus, censured, slan- 
dered, and falsely accused of the worst of 
crimes: of gluttony, of blasphemy, of 
sorcery ! Can any of thy children expect 
freedom from the persecution of the 
tongue, when innocency itself could not 
protect thy holy Son from slander and 
false accusation ? Observe, 4. Our Sa- 
viour's answer, and just apology for him- 
self, in which are contained, (1.) A con- 
futation of their calumny and slander. 
(2.) A reprehension of the scribes for the 
same. To confute this slander, our Sa- 
viour, by several arguments, shows how 
absurd and unlikely it is that the devil 
should cast out himself, and any way 
seek to oppose and destroy his own king- 
dom. As if our Saviour had said, " Is 
it likely that Satan would lend me his 
power to use it against himself ? Surely 
Satan will do nothing to weaken his own 
interest, or shake the pillars of his own 
kingdom. Now if I have received any 



Chap. III. 



ST. MARK. 



183 



power from Satan, for destroying him and 
his kingdom, then is Satan like a family 
divided within itself, and like a kingdom 
divided against itself, which can never 
stand, but be brought to dcsuiation." Our 
Saviour having sutficiently shown that he 
did not work his miracles by the power 
of the devil, he next inl'orms them from 
whence he had that power, even from 
God himself; and accordingly he compares 
Satan to a strong man well armed, with 
weapons to defend his house ; and he 
compares himself, clothed with divine 
power, to one that is stronger than the 
strong man. So that the argument nms 
thus : The devil is very strong and powerful, 
and there is no power but God's only that 
is stronger than his. If then, says Christ, 
I were not assisted with a divine power, I 
could never cast out this strong man, who 
reigns in tlie bodies and souls of men as 
in tiiis house, for it must be a stronger 
than the strong man that shall bind Satan ; 
and who is he but the God of strength ? 
Learn hence. That Christ's divine power 
only is superior to Satan's strength. He 
only can vanquish and overrule him at his 
pleasure, and drive him out of that posses- 
sion which he holds either in the bodies or 
in the souls of men. Observe, 5. The 
charge which our Saviour brings against the 
scribes and Pharisees' blaspheming his divine 
power in working miracles. He charges 
them of sinning the unpardonable sin against 
the Holy Ghost. All sin and blasphemy 
shall he forgiven, hut he that shall hlas- 
phnne against the JIoli/ Ghost, hath never 
forgiveness. As if Christ had said, " All the 
reproaches which you cast upon me as man 
are pardonable ; as when you check me 
with the poverty and meanness of my birth, 
when you censure me for a wine-bibber, a 
glutton, a friend and companion of sinners, 
and the like unjust crimes. But when you 
blaspheme that divine power by which all 
my miracles are wrought, and, contrary to 
the conviction of your own enlightened 
minds, maliciously ascribe all my miracles to 
the power of the devil, which were wrought 
indeed by the power of the HolyGhost, this 
makes your condition not only dangerous but 
desperate, because you resist the last remedy, 
and oppose the best means for yourconviction. 
For what can be done more to convince you 
that I am the true and promised Messiah, 
than to work so many miracles before your 
eyes to that purpose? Now, if when you 
see these you will say, It is not the Spirit of 
God that works these, but the power of the 



devil : as if Satan would conspire against 
himself, and seek the ruin of his own king- 
dom ; there is no way or means left to con- 
vince you, but you will continue in your 
obstinacy, and malicious opposition to truth, 
to your unutterable and inevitable con- 
demnation." 

31 There came then his brethren 
and his mother, and, standing with- 
out, sent unto him, calling him. 
32 And the multitude sat about 
him ; and they said unto him. 
Behold, thy mother and thy brethren 
without seek for thee. 33 And he 
answered them, saying, Who is my 
mother, or my brethren ? 34 And he 
looked round about on them which 
sat about him, and said. Behold my 
mother and my brethren ! 35 For 
whosoever shall do the will of God, 
the same is my brother, and my sis- 
ter, and mother. 

Observe here, 1. The truth and verity of 
Christ's human nature ; he had affinity and 
consanguinity with men, persons near in 
blood to him by the mother's side, called 
here his brethren ; that is, his kinsmen. 
Observe, 2. That the mother of Christ, 
though she was a blessed and holy woman, 
yet she was not free from sin, but failures 
and infirmities are found with her. It was 
a fault to interrupt our Saviour unreasonably 
at this time, when he was preaching to the 
people. The like we see in her at other 
times, Luke ii. 48, and John ii. 3. No 
saint here on earth ever was in a state of 
sinless perfection. Blessed be God, we are 
hastening to such a state. Observe, 3. That 
Christ did not neglect his holy mother, or 
disregard his poor kindred and relations, but 
only showed that he preferred his Father's 
work and business before their company and 
acquaintance at this time. Observe, 4. 
How exceedingly dear obedient christians 
are to Jesus Christ ; he prefers his spiritual 
kindred before his natural. Alliance by 
faith is more valued by our Saviour than 
alliance by blood. To bear Christ in the 
heart, is a greater honour than to bear him 
in the womb. Blessed be God, this great 
and gracious privilege is not denied us even 
now. Although we cannot see Christ, yet 
love him we may. His bodily presence 
cannot be enjoyed by us, but his spiritual pre- 
sence is not denied us. Though Ciirist be not 
ours in house, in arms, in affinity, in con- 
sanguinity ; yet in heart, in faith, in love, in 



184 

service, he is, or may be ours. Verily, spiri- 
tual regeneration bringeth men into a more 
honourable relation to Christ than natural 
generation ever did. 

CHAP. IV. 

A ND he began again to teach by 
the sea-.side : and there was 
gathered unto him a great multitude, 
so that he entered into a ship, and 
sat in the sea ; and the whole multi- 
tude was by the sea on the land. 2 
And he taught them many things by 
parables, and said unto them in his 
doctrine. 

The foregoing chapter acquainted us with 
the blasphemous slander which the scribes 
and Pharisees cast upon our blessed Saviour, 
accusing him of casting out devils by the 
help of the devil. This they did, no doubt, 
to discredit his person, and hinder his minis- 
try ; yet for all this the people follow him 
in great multitudes, more than ever, to hear 
him, and be instructed by him. Thence 
learn, 1. Tliat all the power and malice of 
Satan and wicked men shall not be able to 
suppress tlie gospel, or hinder the free course 
of it ; yea, the more it is opposed, the more 
it shall prevail : the more the scribes and 
Pharisees disgraced our Saviour, and vilified 
his doctrine, the more the people followed 
him in troops, to be partakers of his ministry. 
Observe, 2. The place where our Lord now 
preached ; in a skip. Not that he declined 
the temple, or the synagogue, when he had 
opportunity ; but in the want of them Christ 
thought an house, a mountain, a ship, no 
unmeet place to preach in. It is not the 
place that sanctifies the ordinance, but the 
ordinance that sanctifies the place. Observe, 
3. Our Saviour's gestures in preaching ; he 
sat, it being the custom of the Jewish church 
so to do. Matt, xxiii. 2. The scribes and 
Pharisees sit in Moses' chair. Learn 
thence. That in indifferent rites and orders, 
touching the outward worship of God, we 
are to conform ourselves to the laudable 
custom and practice of the church in which 
we live, and whereof we are members. 
This did our Saviour, and so ought we. 
Observe, 4. The manner of our Lord's 
preaching, it was by parables and similitudes, 
which was an ancient way of instructing 
among the Jews, and a very convincing 
way ; working upon men's minds, me- 
moriesj and affections, all at once, making 
the mind attentive, the memory retentive, 
and the auditors inquisitive after the inter- 



ST. MARK. Chap. IV. 

pretation of the parable. Some are of opin- 
ion our Saviour's parables were suited to his 
hearers' employments; and accordingly 
many of his hearers being husbandmen, he 
resembles his doctrine to seed sown in the 
field. For thus he speaks : 

3 Hearken ; Behold, there went 
out a sower to sow : 4 And it came 
to pass, as he sowed, some fell by 
the way-side, and the fowls of the 
air came and devoured it up. 5 And 
some fell on stony ground, where it 
had not much earth ; and immedi- 
ately it sprang up, because it had no 
depth of earth: 6 But when the 
sun was up, it was scorched ; and 
because it had no root, it withered 
away. 7 And some fell among 
thorns ; and the thorns grew up and 
choked it, and it yielded no fruit. 8 
And other fell on good ground, and 
did yield fruit that sprang up and 
increased, and brought forth, some 
thirty, and some sixty, and some an 
hundred. 9 And he said unto them. He 
that hath ears to hear, let him hear. 
I. Several things are to be observable ; as, 
1. How Christ begins and ends the parable 
with an admonition to diligent and serious 
attention. Hearken, says Christ, verse 3. 
and he that hath ears to hear, let him 
hear, verse 9. This shows us at once the 
people's backwardness and negligence in 
applying their minds to hear and receive the 
word of God, and also shows the minister's 
duty to excite and stir up their people's 
diligence and attention in hearing God's 
word. Observe, 2. What is the general 
scope and design of this parable : namely, 
to show that there are four several sorts of 
hearers of God's word, and but one good 
one, but one sort only who hear to saving 
advantage. Now as to the matter of the 
parable. Note, (1.) The sorver is Christ 
and his apostles ; he the principal sower, 
they the subordinate seedsmen. Christ sows 
his own field, his ministers sow his field. 
He sows his own seed, they his seed. Woe 
unto us if we sow our own seed, not Christ's. 
Note, (2.) The seed sown, the word of God : 
fabulous legends and unwritten traditions, 
which the seedsmen of the church of Rome 
sow, these are not seed, but chatf, or their 
own seed, and not Christ's. Our Lord's 
field must be all sown with his own seed, 
with no mixt grain. Learn, 1. That the 



Chap. IV. 



ST. MARK. 



186 



word preached is like seed sown in the 
furrows of the field. As seed has a fructifying 
virtue in it, by which it increases and 
brings forth more of its own kind, so has 
the word of God a quickening power to 
regenerate and make alive dead souls. Learn, 
2. From this parable, that the seed of the 
word, where it is most plentifully sown, is 
not alike fruitful. Seed doth not thrive in 
all ground alike, neither doth the word 
fructify alike in the souls of men. There is 
a difference both from the nature of the soil, 
and from the influence of the Spirit. For 
though no ground be naturall\' good, yet 
some is worse than other. Learn, 3. That 
the cause of the word's unfruitfulness is very 
different ; not the same in all. In some it 
is an hard heart (o unbelief, in others the 
distracting cares of the world choke the 
word : like thorns which hinder the corn's 
growth, by overshadowing it, by drawing 
away the moisture and heart of the earth 
from ii, and by hindering the influence of 
the sun from cherishing it. Unto which 
may be added the policy of Satan, that bird 
of prey, which follows God's plough, and 
steals away the precious seed of the word 
out of the furrows of their souls. Learn, 4. 
That the best ground doth not bring forth 
increase alike. Some good ground brings 
forth more, others less ; some thirty, some 
sixty, some an hundred-fold. In like man- 
ner, a person may be a profitable hearer of 
the word, although he doth not bring forth 
so great a proportion of fruit as others, pro- 
vided he brings forth as much as he can. 

10 And when he was alone, they 
that were about him with the twelve 
asked of him the parable. 11 And 
he said unto them, Unto you it is 
given to know the mystery of the 
kingdom of God : but upon them 
that are without all these things are 
done in parables : 12 That seeing 
they may see, and not perceive ; and 
hearing they may hear, and not 
understand ; lest at any time they 
should be converted, and their sins 
should be forgiven them. 13 And 
he said unto them. Know ye not this 
parable ? and how then will ye know 
all parables? 

Observe here, The disciples' question, 
and our Saviour's reply. Their question is 
about the sense and meaning of the parable. 
They own their ignorance, and desire better 



information. It is no shame for the best of 
ministers, yea, the best of men, to acknow- 
ledge their own ignorance in the mysteries 
of religion, and to attend upon the means 
of instruction, in order to their further infor- 
mation. In our Saviour's answer. To you 
it is (riven to know the 7nystertes of the 
kingdom of God, &,'c. observe, 1. That the 
doclrines of the gospel are great mysteries. 
2. That it is a matchless and invaluable pri- 
vilege practically to understand gospel-mys- 
teries. 3. That this privilege all are not 
sharers in, and partakers of, but only those 
to whom it is given. 4. That it is a right- 
eous thing with God, to give such persons 
over to farther blindness and ignorance in 
spiritual things, who wilfully reject the 
truth, and shut their eyes against the light 
and evidence of it. The Pharisees had all 
along shut their eyes, and said they would 
not see : and now Christ closes their eyes 
judicially, and says they shall not see. 
Seeing ye shall see, and not perceive ; and 
hearing ye shall hear, and 7iot understand. 

14 The sower soweth the word. 
15 And these are they by the way- 
side, where the word is sown ; but 
when they have heard, Satan cometh 
immediately, and taketh away the 
word that was sown in their hearts. 
IG And these are they likewise 
Avhich are sown on stony ground ; 
who, when they have heard the 
word, immediately receive it with 
gladness ! 17 And have no root in 
themselves, and so endure but for a 
time : afterward, when affliction or 
persecution ariseth for the word's 
sake, immediately they are offended. 
18 x\nd these are they which are 
sown among thorns ; such as hear 
the word, 19 And the cares of 
this world, and the deceitfulness of 
riches, and the lusts of other things 
entering in, choke the word, and it 
becometh unfruitful. 20 And these 
are they which are sown on good 
ground ; such as hear the word, 
and receive it, and bring forth fruit, 
some thirty-fold, some sixty, and 
some an hundred. 

Here our Saviour applies himself to 
interpret and explain the foregoing pa- 
rable : the seed is the word, the sower is 
the preacher, the soil is the heart and soul 



18G 



ST. MARK 



Chap. IV 



of man. Some hearers Christ compares to 
the highxoay ground, in which the seed 
lies uncovered for the want of the harrow 
of meditation. Others to stony ground, 
in which the word lias no root. No root 
in their understandings, in their memories, 
wills, and atiections : but they are in- 
stantly oifended, either at the depth and 
profoundness of the word, or at the sanctity 
and strictness of the word, or else at the 
plainness and simplicity of it. Again, 
some hearers our Lord compares to thorny 
ground : worldly and covetous desires are 
as thorns choking the good seed : they 
shadow the blade when sprung up, keep 
off the influences of the sun, and draw 
away the fatness of the soil from the seed. 
All these mischievous effects have thorns 
among the seed. And the like ill effects 
have worldly affections and covetous de- 
sires in the soul of man, rendering the 
seed of the word unfruitful and unprofitable. 
But the good christian hears the word 
attentively, keeps it retentively, believes it 
stedfastly, applies it particularly, practises 
it universally, and brings forth fruit per- 
severingly. Learn, L That no hearers 
are in Christ's account good hearers of the 
word, but such as bring forth fruit an- 
swerable to their hearing. 2. That a 
person may be a good hearer of the word 
in Christ's account, if he bring forth 
the best fruit he can, though it be not in 
so great a proportion as others do. As 
some grounds bring forth thirty, some 
sixty, and some an hundred-fold ; in like 
manner do all sincere hearers of the word. 
They all bring forth fruit, though not all 
alike ; all in sincerity, though not all 
equally, and none to perfection. It is 
Theophylact's note on the place : " How 
small is the number of good men, and 
how few are saved I For only the fourth 
part of the seed fell upon good ground, 
and was preserved." Others observe a 
gradation here : the seed sown in the 
highway comes not up at all ; that on 
stony ground comes up, but increaseth not ; 
that among thorns increaseth, but bears 
no fruit; only that seed which fell on 
good ground brings forth fruit unto per- 
fection. 

21 And he said unto them. Is a 
candle brought to be put under a 
bushel, or under a bed \ and not to be 
set on a candlestick > 22 For there 
is nothing hid, which shall not be 
manifested ; ncithetwas any thing 



kept secret, but that it should come 
abroad. 23 If any man have ears 
to hear, let him hear. 24 And 
he said unto them. Take heed what 
ye hear: with what measure ye 
mete, it shall be measured to you ; 
and unto you that hear shall more 
be given. 25 For he that hath, to 
him shall be given : and he that 
hath not, from him shall be taken 
even that which he hath. 

Observe here, 1. The end and design 
of Christ in revealing his word and will to 
his disciples, and in communicating to 
them the light of spiritual knowledge ; 
namely, that they may communicate it to 
others, and not keep it close unto them- 
selves. Even as the candle in a house dif- 
fuses and disperses its light to all that come 
within the reach of it ; in like manner 
ought all christians, and particularly Christ's 
ministers, by the light of life and doctrine, 
to direct persons in their way towards hea- 
ven. Such as are enlightened by God in 
any measure, with the knowledge and un- 
derstanding of his word, ought not to con- 
ceal and hide this knowledge within them- 
selves, but communicate it to others, and 
employ it for the good and benefit of 
others. Observe, 2. The cautionary di- 
rection given by Christ to his disciples, to 
take heed hots they hear the word. Such 
as would profit by hearing of the word 
must diligently attend to the matter of the 
doctrine wliich they hear, and also to the 
manner how they hear. Such is the ma- 
jesty and authority of the Person that 
speaks to us in the word, such is the 
sublimity and spirituality of the matter, 
and so great is our danger, if we miscarry 
under the word, that it nearly concerns 
us to take heed, both tuhat we hear, and 
how we hear. Observe, 3. The argument 
which our Saviour makes use of to quicken 
his disciples to communicate the know- 
ledge, and improve the grace they had 
received for the good and benefit of others. 
To hitn that hath shall he given. That 
is, such as improve their spiritual gifts 
shall have them increased ; such as im- 
prove them not shall have them blasted. 
Learn hence. That the best course we can 
take to increase and thrive in grace, is to 
exercise and improve it. lie that hides 
his talent, doth not only forfeit it, but is 
in danger of being punished severely for 
the non-improvement of it. 



Chap. IV. ST. MARK. 

26 And he said, So is the king- 
dom of God, as if a man should 
cast seed into the ground ; 27 And 
should sleep, and rise night and day, 
and the seed should spring and grow 
up, he knoweth not how. 28 For 
the earth bringeth forth fruit of her- 
self ; first the blade, then the ear, 
after that the full corn in the ear. 
21) But when the fruit is brought 
forth, immediately he putteth in the 
sickle, because the harvest is come. 

This parable of our Saviour's is an in- 
structive lesson to the ministers of the gos- 
pel, faithfully to do their parts in sowing 
the seed of the word amongst their people, 
and then not to be over-solicitous about the 
event, but to leave the issue to God ; not 
to be discouraged, though the fruit of their 
labour doth not presently appear. Ac- 
cordingly Christ propounds the laborious 
husbandman to his ministers' imitation. 
As the husbandman, when he has pru- 
dently and painfully cast his seed into the 
ground, is not anxiously disquieted, but 
goes to bed, and rests in hope, and at 
length the corn springs up ; first the blade, 
then the ear, then the grain. In like man- 
ner let the ministers of God do their duty 
without discouragement ; in the morning 
sow their seed, and in the evening not 
withhold their hand. And although the 
seed sown doth not appear presently, 
(it may be not in our days,) but seems rot- 
ting among the clods ; yet may it appear 
afterwards with a plentiful increase, when 
our own heads are laid among the clods ; 
verifying that saying of our Saviour, One 
soxvctli, and another rcapcth. Learn 
hence, 1. Tiiat the ministry of the word 
is the ordinary, the necessary, and the 
principal means which God has appointed 
fur sowing the seed of grace in the hearts 
of his people: Ho is the kingdom of God, 
as if a man should cast seed into the 
frround. 2. That the virtue and efficacy 
ijf the word preached doth not depend 
upon the parts of a man, but upon the 
power of God ; The seed springeth up, 
he knoweth not how. Learn, 3. That the 
word of God sincerely preached may be 
successful, though it be not presently suc- 
cessful ; the seed sown in one minister's 
days, may spring up in another's. Happy 
we, if as God's husbandmen we be em- 
ployed in plowing, sowing, or reaping ; 



187 

our Lord will reward us secundum lahorem, 
non fructum ; not according to our suc- 
cess, but according to our endeavours. 
The care and endeavour is ours, but the 
blessing and success is God's. 

30 And he said, Whereunto shall 
we liken the kingdom of God ? or 
with what comparison shall we com- 
pare it ? 31 It is like a grain of 
mustard seed, which, when it is 
sown in the earth, is less than all 
the seeds that be in the earth : 32 
But when it is sown, it groweth up, 
and becometh greater than all herbs, 
and shooteth out great branches ; 
so that the fowls of the air may 
lodge under the shadow of it. 33 
And with many such parables spake 
he the word unto them, as they were 
able to hear it. 34 But without a 
parable spake he not unto them : 
and when they were alone, he ex- 
pounded all things to his disciples. 

The design of our Saviour in this pa- 
rable is to show how the gospel-church, 
from small and little, from unlikely and 
contemptible beginnings, should spread and 
increase, fructify and grow up, like as 
mustard-seed, one of the smallest of grains, 
grows up to a considerable tallness ; even 
so Christ foretells that the gospel should 
spread and increase, nations and countries 
becoming christians. Hence learn. That 
how small beginnings soever the gospel 
had in its first plantation, yet by the 
fructifying blessing of God it has had, and 
shall have a wonderful increase. 

35 And the same day, when the 
even was come, he saith unto tlieni. 
Let us pass over unto the other side. 

36 And when they had sent away 
the multitude, they took him even 
as he was in the ship. And there 
were also with him other little ships. 

37 And there arose a great storm 
of wind, and the waves beat into 
the ship, so that it was now full. 38 
And he was in the hinder part of the 
ship, asleep on a pillow : and they 
awake him, and say unto him. Mas- 
ter, carest thou not that we perish r 
39 And he arose, and rebuked the 
wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, 



188 



ST. MARK. 



Chap. V. 



be still. And the wind ceased, and 
there was a great calm. 40 And 
he said unto them, Why are ye so 
fearful ? how is it that ye have no 
faith? 41 And they feared exceed- 
ingly, and said one to another, What 
manner of man is this, that even the 
wind and the sea ohey him ? 

Observe, here, 1. Our Saviour and his 
disciples no sooner put forth to sea, but 
dangers attend and difficulties do accom- 
pany them ; a tempest arose, and the 
ship was covered with waves, which Christ 
himself was in, with his disciples. Learn 
hence, That the presence of Christ himself 
does not exempt his disciples and followers 
from trouble and danger. Here is a great 
tempest about the disciples' ears, though 
Christ himself was in their company. 
Observe, 2. The posture oiu: Saviour was 
in when this tempest arose : he beino- 
wearied with the labours of the day, was 
laid down upon a pillow to sleep at 
night, tliereby showing himself to be truly 
and really man, and that as he took upon 
him human nature, so he assumed the 
infirmities of our nature also, as weariness 
and pain, hunger and thirst. Observe, 
3. The disciples' application made to 
Christ ; they awake him with a sad outcry. 
Master, carcst thou not that we perish ? 
Here was faith mixed with human frailty. 
They believed that he could save them ; 
but being asleep, they concluded he must 
be awaked before they can be saved by 
him : whereas, though his human nature 
was asleep, yet his divine nature neither 
slumbered nor slept. Learn hence. That 
the prevalence of fear in a time of great and 
imminent danger, though it may argue 
weakness of faith, yet is no evidence of a 
total want of faith ; in the midst of the 
disciples' fears they believed Christ's pow- 
er. Observe, 4. A double rebuke given 
by our Saviour, first to the winds, next 
to the fears of his disciples : JJe rebukes 
the -winds, and instantly thei/ are calm. 
When the sea was as furious as a madman, 
Christ with a single word calms it. Learn 
hence, That the most raging winds, and 
outrageous seas, cannot stand before the 
rebukes of Christ. Christ, as God, lays 
a law upon the most lawless creatures, 
even when they seem to act most lawless- 
ly. Observe farther, Christ rebukes his 
disciples' fears, Whi/ are ^je fearful ? No 
Booner was the storm up, but "their fears 



were up ; they forgot that the Lord High 
Admiral of the Ocean was on board the 
ship : and were as much overset with their 
boisterous passion as the vessel was with 
the tempestuous winds; and accordingly 
Christ rebukes the tempest within, before 
the storm without. First he calms their 
hearts, then he quiets the seas. From 
this instance of the disciples we may 
gather, that great faith in the habit may 
appear little in act and exercise : the 
disciples' faith in forsaking all and follow- 
ing Christ, was great faith; but in this 
present act their faith was weak, through 
the prevalency of their fears. O, the im- 
perfect composition of the best of saints I 
Faith and fear will take their turns, and 
act their parts, whilst we are upon the 
stage of this world ; ere long our fear 
will be vanquished, and our faith swal- 
lowed up in vision. Lord, set our souls 
a longing for that joyful hour. 

CHAP. V. 

A ND they came over unto the 
other side of the sea, into the 
country of the Gadarenes : 2 And 
when he was come out of the ship, 
immediately there met him out of 
the tombs a man with an unclean 
spirit, 3 Who had his dwelling 
among the tombs ; and no man 
could bind him, no, not with chains : 
4 Because that he had been often 
bound with fetters and diains, and 
the chains had been plucked asun- 
der by him, and the fetters broken 
in pieces : neither could any man 
tame him. 5 And always, night 
and day, he was in the mountains, 
and in the tombs, crying, and cut- 
ting himself with stones. 6 But 
when he saw Jesus afar off, he came 
and worshipped him, 7 And cried 
with a loud voice, and said. What 
have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou 
Son of the most high God ? I ad- 
jure thee by God that thou torment 
me not. 8 For he said unto him. 
Come out of the man, thou undean 
spirit. 9 And he asked him. What 
is thy name ? And he answered, sav- 
ing, My name is Legion : for we 
are many. 10 And he besought hini 



Chap. V. 



ST. MARK. 



189 



much that he would not send them 
away out of the country, 11 Now 
there was there, nigh unto the 
mountains, a great herd of swine 
feeding. 12 And all the devils be- 
sought him, saying. Send us into 
the swine, that we may enter into 
them. 13 And forthwith Jesus gave 
them leave. And the unclean spi- 
rits went out, and entered into the 
swine ; and the herd ran violently 
down a steep place into the sea, 
(they were about two thousand,) and 
were choked in the sea. 14 And 
they that fed the swine fled, and told 
it in the city, and in the country. 
And they went out to see what it 
was that was done. 15 And they 
come to Jesus, and see him that was 
possessed with the devil, and had 
the legion, sitting, and clothed, and 
in his right mind : and they were 
afraid. 16 And they that saw it 
told them how it befel to him that 
was possessed with the devil, and 
also concerning the swine. 17 And 
they began to pray him to depart 
out of their coasts. 18 And when 
he was come into the ship, he tlmt 
had been possessed with the devil 
prayed him that he might be with 
him. 19 Howbcit Jesus suffered 
him not, but saith unto him. Go 
home to thy friends, and tell them 
how great things the Lord hath done 
for thee, and hath had compassion 
on thee. 20 And he departed, and 
began to publish in Decapolis how 
great things Jesus had done for him : 
and all men did marvel. 

This piece of history gives us a very sad 
relation of a person that was possessed with 
a legion of devils : we read of few, if any, 
in the Old Testament, that were thus pos- 
sessed, but of many in the New Testament. 
Our Saviour came into the world to destroy 
the works of the devil ; therefore he suffer- 
ed Satan to enter some human bodies, to 
show his divine power in casting him out. 
Note here, 1 . That the evil angels by their 
fall lost their purity, but not their power; 
for with God's permission they have pow- 
er, not only to enter into men's bodies, and 



to possess them, but also to distemper their 
minds, and drive them to frenzy and mad- 
ness, causing them to offer violence to their 
own lives and to do hurt and mischief to 
their own bodies. Thus did this possessed 
person here, wounding and cutting himself 
with stones. Note, 2. That the reason 
why the evil angels do no oitener exert 
their power in doing mischief to the bodies 
and lives of men, is from the restraining 
power of God. The devils cannot do all 
the mischief they would, and they shall not 
do all they can. Note, 3. The place where 
these evil spirits delighted to make their 
abode ; among the toinbs or graves, places 
desolate, forlorn, and solitary, which are 
apt to breed horror of mind, and give ad- 
vantage to temptations. Learn thence. 
That it is dangerous, and very unsafe, for 
persons, especially in whom melancholy 
prevails, to give themselves to solitariness, 
to frequent desolate and forlorn places, and 
to affect the being much alone ; it giving 
advantage to Satan to set upon them with 
powerful temptations. It is better to fre- 
quent human society, and especially to de- 
light in the society and communion of the 
saints, by means whereof we may be more 
and more strengthened and fortified against 
Satan's temptations. Note, 4. That the 
devils own Christ to be the Son of God, 
and that he came into the world to be a 
Saviour, but not a Saviour to them ; there- 
fore they cry out. What have ive to do 
■with thee, or thou with us ? O what an 
uncomfortable confession and acknowledg- 
ment is this, to own Christ to be a Sa- 
viour, and at the same time to know that 
he is none of our Saviour ! Note, 5. That 
though the devils do own Christ to be the 
Son of God, and do pay homage and wor- 
ship, and yield service and subjection to 
him, as his slaves and vassals, yet it is 
not a free and voluntary service, but ex- 
torted rather, and forced from them by the 
power of Christ : He worshipped, and 
cried out, sai/ing. What have I to do 
■with thee? Note, 6. What a multitude 
of evil spirits do enter into one man. O 
the extreme malice and cruelty of the de- 
vil against mankind, in that so many evil 
spirits did at once afflict and torment a 
single person ; even a legion, many thou- 
sands of them. Observe also. The unity 
and agreement which is amongst these evil 
spirits in doing mischief : though there 
was a legion of them in this one person, 
yet they have all but one name. Learn, 
That the very devils have a sort of unity 



190 



ST. MARK. 



Chap. V. 



amongst themselves, and in their raahce 
and mischievous designs against mankind 
they are as one. How happy were it, if 
good men were as much united in designs 
and endeavours for the glory of God, as 
devils conspire and combine against it ! 
Note, 7. The outcry which the devil makes 
at the appearance and approach of Christ, 
Art thou come to torment us before the 
time? From thence learn, (1) That there 
are tortures appointed to the spiritual natures 
of evil angels. (2) That the devils are not 
so full of torment as they shall be. Al- 
though they are as full of discontent as 
they can be, there will be a time when 
their torments shall be increased, when they 
shall have their fill of torment. This they 
know, and accordingly thus they pray. 
Torment us not before our time ; that is, 
increase not our torments before the ap- 
pointed time of their increase. Note, 8. 
The devils' request. Not to send them out 
of the country, ver. 10: for being now 
among heathens, they thought they were 
among their own, and not in Christ's ju- 
risdiction, as being not amongst his peo- 
ple. Next, for permission and leave to 
go into the herd of swine. Where observe. 
First, The devil's malice ; he will hurt the 
poor beasts rather than not hurt at all. 
Secondly, His powerful restraint; he can- 
not hurt a pig without permission : Suffer 
us to enter. Satan's malice indeed is infi- 
nite, but his power is bounded ; it is pos- 
testas sub postestate, a power under a 
power. If he could not hurt the swine, 
much less can he afflict the body or soul 
of man without leave or licence. Note, 9. 
How Satan's request is yielded to by our 
Saviour : he permits the devils to enter into 
the swine ; not to satisfy their desire in do- 
ing mischief; but, first, to show his power 
over the devils, that they could do nothing 
without his permission : next, to show how 
great the power and malice of the devil 
would be, if not restrained : and lastly. 
That the miracle of casting out such a 
multitude of devils might appear to be 
the greater. Learn hence. That sometimes 
Almighty God, for wise ends and just 
causes, doth suffer the devil to enjoy his 
desire in doing hurt and mischief unto the 
creatures : Jesus said unto them. Go. 
Note, 10. What a contrary effect this mi- 
racle which Christ wrought had upon 
these people ; instead of believing his di- 
vine power, upon the sight of his miracu- 
lous healing the possessed, the loss of their 
swine enrages them, and makes them de- 



sire Christ to depart from them. Carnal 
hearts prefer their swine before their Sa- 
viour, and had rather lose Christ's pre- 
sence than their worldly profit. So desir- 
ous were these Gadarenes to get rid of our 
Saviour's company, that thejj pray and 
beseech him to depart out of their coasts. 
Learn hence. Sad is the condition of such 
from whom Christ departs ; more sad the 
condition of such who say unto Christ, 
Depart ; but most sad the case of them 
who pray and beseech Christ to depart 
from' them. Thus did these Gadarenes de- 
sire and beseech Christ to depart from them ; 
which accordingly he did, and we read 
no more of his return to them. Note 
lastly, How desirous the possessed man was 
to continue with Christ : after he was come 
to himself, he prayed that he might be 
xoith him. This he might desire, partly 
to testify his thankfulness to Ctirist, partly 
out of fear of being re-possessed again by 
Satan, or perhaps to have the opportunity 
of hearing Christ's doctrine, and seeing 
his miracles. For such as have once 
tasted that the Lord is gracious, and ex- 
perienced the pleasure and profit of Christ's 
company, are very desirous of the continu- 
ance of it, and exceeding loth to part with 
it. However, our Saviour at this time did 
not think fit to suffer him, knowing that 
more glory would redound to God, by 
publishing the miracle to his friends. Christ 
expects, after eminent deliverances wrought 
for us, that we should be the publishers of 
his praise, and declare to all, far and near, 
the great things which God hath done for 
us. Add to this, that our Saviour might 
not permit this man to be with him, to 
avoid the suspicion of vain-glory ; of which 
he might have given some umbrage, had he 
carried about with him those upon whom 
his greatest miracles were wrought. And 
lastly. To show that Christ in his absence, 
as well as when present, is able to protect 
those that believe and trust in him from 
the malice of evil spirits. 

21 And when Jesus was passed 
over again by ship unto the other 
side, much people gathered unto 
him ; and he was nigh unto the sea. 
22 And, behold, there coraeth one 
of the rulers of the synagogue, Jai- 
rusby name ; and when he saw him, 
he fell at his feet, 23 And besought 
him greatly, saying, My little daugh- 
ter lieth at the point of death : I 



Chap. V. 



ST. MARK. 



191 



pray thee, come and lay thy hands 
on her, that she may be healed ; and 
she shdl live. 24 And Jesus went 
with him ; and much people followed 
him, and thronged him. 

Observe here, 1. The person who came 
to Clirist on behalf of his sick daughter, 
described by his name, Jairus ; by his 
office, a ruler of the sjjnaffogue ; by his 
gesture, he fill doxvn at Jcsus's fi-et and 
■worshipped liim. This gesture of his was 
not only a sign of tender affection in 
him towards his daughter, but also an evi- 
dence of his faith in our blessed Saviour ; 
yet his confining Christ's power to his 
bodily presence, and to the touch of his 
hand, was a token of the weakness of his 
faith : Co7)ic, says he, and lay thine hand 
upon her, and she shall live. As if Christ 
could not have cured her without either 
coming to her, or laying his hand upon her. 
Note, All that come to Christ are not alike 
strong in faith. Yet our blessed Redeemer 
refuses none who come to him with a sincere 
faith, though in much weakness of faith. 
Observe, 2. How readily our Saviour com- 
plies with Jairus s request ; Jesus -went with 
him. Although his faith was but weak, 
yet our Saviour doth not reject him, or deny 
Ids suit, but readily goes with him. Learn 
hence, How ready we should be to go to 
Christ in all our distresses, afflictions, and 
necessities, who is so ready to hear, and so 
forward to help us, if we seek him in sin- 
cerity, though our faith be feeble. Observe, 
3. The great humility of our blessed Saviour 
in suffering himself to be thronged by poor 
people : Much people followed him, and 
thronged him. O humble and lowly Sa- 
viour ! How free was thy conversation from 
pride and haughtiness : how willing to con- 
verse with the meanest of the people for 
their advantage ! Our Lord did not only 
suffer them to come near him, but even to 
throng him. What an example is here for 
the greatest persons upon earth to imitate 
and follow, not to despise the persons, nor 
disdain the presence of the meanest and 
poorest of the people ; but to look upon 
some with an eye of favour, upon others 
with an eye of pity, upon none with an eye 
of contempt. 

25 And a certain woman, which 
had an issue of blood twelve years, 
26 And had suffered many things of 
many physicians, and had spent all 
that she had, and was notliing bet- 



tered, but rather grew wo^se, 27 
When she had heard of Jesus, came 
in the press behind, and touched 
his garment: 28 For she said, If 
I may touch but his clothes, I shall 
be whole. 29 And straightway the 
fountain of her blood was dried 
up ; and she felt in her body that 
she was healed of that plague. 30 
And Jesus, immediately knowing in 
himself that virtue had gone out of 
him, turned him about in the press, 
and said. Who touched my clothes ? 
31 And his disciples said unto him. 
Thou seest the multitude thronging 
thee, and sayest thou. Who touched 
me ? 32 And he looked round 
about to see her that had done this 
thing. 33 But the woman fearing 
and trembling, knowing what was 
done in her, came and fell down 
before him, and told him all the 
truth. 34 And he said unto her. 
Daughter, thy faith hath made thee 
whole ; go in peace, and be whole of 
thy plague. 

As our Saviour was on his way to Jaiius's 
house, a diseased woman comes behind him, 
touches his clothes, and is presently healed. 
The virtue lay not in her finger, but in her 
faith ; or rather in Christ, which her faith 
instrumentally drew forth. Observe here, 
L The diseased person, a woman with a 
bloody flux. Let women here take notice 
of the miseries which the sin of the first 
woman has brought upon all women, 
amongst which this is one, that it has made 
their bodies subject to unnatural issues and 
fluxes of blood. Observe, 2. The long 
continuance of this disease, twelve years. 
It pleases God to lay long and tedious 
afflictions upon some of his children in this 
life, and particularly to keep some of them 
a very long time under bodily weakness, to 
manifest his power in supporting them, and 
to magnify his mercy in delivering them. 
Observe, 3. This poor woman was found in 
the use of means ; she sought to physicians 
for help, and is not blamed for it, though 
she spent all she had upon them. The 
use of physic is not to be neglected by us 
in times of sickness, especially in dangerous 
diseases of the body. To trust to means is 
to neglect God, and to neglect the means is 
to tempt God. Tiie health of our bodies 



ii)2 



ST. MARK. 



Chap. V. 



ought to be dear and precious to us, and 
all lawful means to be used, both to preserve 
it, to recover it, and confirm it. Observe, 
4. The workings and actings of this poor 
woman's faith : her disease was unclean 
by the ceremonial law, and therefore to be 
separate from society; accordingly she is 
ashamed to appear before Christ, but comes 
behind him to touch his clothes, being 
firmly persuaded that Christ had a power 
communicated by God unto him, miracu- 
lously to cure incurable diseases. And see 
how our Saviour encouraged her faith, 
though she did not believe him to be the 
eternal Son of God, but one to whom God 
has communicated a power of healing 
bodily diseases ; yet, says Christ, This thy 
faith hath made thcc whole. Learn hence. 
That faith oft-times meets with a better wel- 
come from Christ than it did or could 
expect. This poor woman came to Christ 
trembling, but went away triumphing. Ob- 
serve, 5. Christ would have this miracle 
discovered ; he therefore says, Who touched 
me ? and, 1 perceive that virtue is gone 
out of me. First, in reference to himself, 
to manifest his divine power, that by the 
touch of his clothes he could cure such in- 
curable diseases. Secondly, in relation to 
the woman, that she might have an oppor- 
tunity to give God the praise and glory for 
the cure. And thirdly. With respect to 
Jairus, that his faith might be strengthened 
in the belief of Christ's power to raise his 
daughter. Now from those words, virtue 
•went out of Christ, and he healed them, it 
is evident, that the virtue which did these 
miraculous cures resided in Christ, and was 
not communicated to him ; and conse- 
quently proves him to be God; for the 
divine virtue, by which the prophets and 
apostles did their cures, is ascribed to God ; 
as Acts xix. 11. God wrought special 
miracles bij the hands of Paul. But the 
miracles done by Christ are ascribed to the 
divine virtue dwelling in him. Accord- 
ingly here he says, I perceive virtue is 
gone out of?ne. 

35 While he yet spake, there came 
from the ruler of the synagogue's 
house certain which said, Thy 
daughter is dead : why troublest thou 
the Master any further? 36 As 
soon as Jesus heard the word that 
was spoken, he saith unto the ruler 
of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only 
believe. 37 And he suffered no 



man to follow him, save Peter, and 
James, and John the brother of 
James. 38 And he cometh to the 
house of the ruler of the synagogue, 
and seeth the tumult, and them that 
wept and wailed greatly. 39 And 
when he was come in, he saith unto 
them. Why make ye this ado, and 
weep ? the damsel is not dead, but 
sleepeth : 40 And they laughed 
him to scorn. But when he had put 
them all out, he taketh the father 
and the mother of the damsel, and 
them that were with him, and entereth 
in where the damsel was lying. 41 
And he took the damsel by the hand, 
and said unto her, Talitha cumi ; 
which is, being interpreted. Dam- 
sel, I say unto thee, arise. 42 And 
straightway the damsel arose and 
walked ; for she was of the age 
of twelve years. And they were 
astonished with a great astonishment. 
43 And he charged them straitly 
that no man should know it ; and 
commanded that something should 
be given her to eat. 

Observe here, 1. The doleful news brought 
to Jairus's ears, Thy daughter is dead. The 
Lord doth sometimes suffer the faith of his 
saints to be hard put to it, greatly assaulted 
with difficulties and trials. Observe, 2. 
Our Saviour's seasonable word of comfort. 
Be not afraid, only believe. Christ is 
ready to comfort believers in the hour of 
their strongest temptations and greatest trials. 
Observe, 3. Christ's application of himself 
to the raising unto life Jairus's dead daughter. 
In order to which, \. He goes into the 
house only with three of his disciples, which 
were sufficient to witness the truth of the 
miracle. Our Saviour, to avoid all show 
of vain-glory, and to evidence that he 
sought not ambitiously his own honour and 
praise, would not work this great miracle 
publicly before all the people. 2. He 
rebukes them for the show they make of 
immoderate grief and sorrow for the dead 
damsel : they wept and wailed greatly, with 
minstrels and nmsical instruments, accord- 
ing to the custom of the heathens, who by 
a mournful sort of music did stir up the 
passion of grief at their funerals. To 
mourn immoderately for the dead is an 



Chap. VI. 



ST. MARK. 



193 



heathenish practice and custom. It is 
hurtful to the hviiig, and dishonourable 
lo the dead ; nor is it an argument of more 
Jove, but an evidence of less grace. 3. 
He adds a reason for this rebuke and re- 
proof given them ; The dainstl is not 
dead but sletpeth. Vobis viurtua, miki 
dorinit : " She is dead to you, but asleep 
to me ;" not so dead as to be beyond my 
power to raise her to life. Souls departed 
are under the conduct of angels to their 
several regions of bliss or misery. It is 
very probable that the soul of this damsel 
was under the guard of angels, near her 
dead body, waiting the pleasure of God 
in order to its disposal, either to restore it 
again to the body, or to translate it to its 
eternal mansion. Observe farther, The 
nature of death in general, and that of the 
saints in particular, described ; it is a sleep. 
Sleep is a state of rest ; sleep is a sudden 
surprisal ; in sleep there is an insensible 
passage of our time ; the person sleeping 
shall certainly awake, either in this world, 
or in the next. It will be our wisdom to 
prepare for the bed of the grave, and so to 
live, that when we lie down in it, there 
may be nothing to disturb our rest. Ob- 
serve next, The words which our Saviour 
used at the raising of the damsel, Tcditha- 
cumi, Syriac words, to show the truth of 
the miracle, not like a conjurer, muttering 
a charm in unknown words to himself ; 
and also to show the greatness of the 
miracle, that he was able to raise her by 
a word speaking. Observe lastly. The 
charge given by our Saviour not to divulge 
this miracle : He charged them straitly 
that none should know it. That is, not 
to divulge it imprudently to such of the 
scribes and Pharisees as would not be 
convinced by it, but only cavil at it, and 
be the more enraged against him, and seek 
his death before his time was come. Also 
not to divulge it unseasonably, and all at 
once, but gradually, and by degrees : for 
it was the will of God that the divine glory 
of Christ should not be manifested to the 
world all at once, and on the sudden, but 
by little and little, during his state of hu- 
miliation ; for his resurrection was the 
time appointed for the full manifestation of 
his Godhead. Rom. i. 4. Declared to be 
the Son of God with power, hi/ the re- 
surrection from the dead. 
CHAP. VI. 
A ND he went out from thence, 
and came into his own country ; 
and his disciples follow him. 2 



And when the sahbath-day was come, 
he began to teach in the synagogue : 
and many hearing him were asto- 
nished, saying. From whence hath 
this man these things ? and what 
wisdom is this which is given unto 
him, that even such mighty works 
are wrought by his hands? 3 Is 
not this the carpenter, the son of 
Mary, the brother of James, and 
Joses, and of Juda, and Simon ? 
and are not his sisters here with 
us? And they were offended at 
him. 4 But Jesus said unto them, A 
prophet is not without honour, but 
in his own country, and among his 
own kin, and in his ov/n house. 5 
And he could there do no mighty 
work, save that he laid his hands up- 
on a few sick folk, and healed them. 
G And he marvelled because of their 
unbelief. And he went round about 
the villages teaching. 

Our blessed Saviour having in the former 
chapter wrought two famous miracles, in 
curing a woman of her bloody issue, and 
raising Jairus's daughter from death, we find 
him here in the beginning of this chapter 
passing into his own countrj/, that is, the 
city of Nazareth in Galilee, called his 
own city and country, because he was 
there conceived, there brought up ; there 
Joseph and Mary, and his kindred dwelt, 
and Christ with them, during his private 
life, which was till he was thirty years of 
age. Now our Saviour being come into 
his own country ; observe, 1. What his 
employment was : he preached in their 
synagogues, and held communion with 
the Jewish church, although she had 
many corruptions in her. Teaching us, 
by his example, not to desert and forsake 
the communion of such a church, in 
which there is found neither heretical 
doctrine nor idolatrous worship, although 
many things be found in her culpable and 
blame-worthy. The Jewish church was 
certainly such, and yet our Saviour main- 
tained not occasional only, but constant 
communion with her. Observe, 2. The 
influence and efTect which our Saviour's 
preaching had upon his own countrymen, 
the people of Nazareth: it did work 
admiration in them, but not faith ; thet/ 
were astonished, but did not believe. 
Men may be mightily moved and affected 
o 



194 



ST. MARK. 



Chap. VI. 



by the word, and yet may never be 
converted by it : the men of Nazareth 
wondered, and yet were offended : they 
did not believe in him, but were oliended 
at him. Observe, 3. The ground and 
cause of this their offence, and that was, 
the meanness of his extraction, and the 
poverty of his condition : Is not this the 
carpenter ? From whence the ancient 
fathers, particularly Justin Martyr, con- 
cluded, that our Saviour did work at his 
father Joseph's trade, during his father's 
life, and thence was called the carpenter's 
son ; and when Joseph was dead, (which 
was before Christ was thirty years old, 
when he entered upon his public office,) 
he was then called the carpenter. The 
ancients say, he spent his time in making 
ploughs and yokes, and that thence it 
was he drew so many similitudes in his 
preaching from the yoke and the plough. 
This we are sure of, that our Lord lived 
not thirty years before his manifestation 
idly and unprofitably. It is most pro- 
bable that he followed his fatlier's calling, 
and wrought under him, it being said, 
that he was subject to hhn, Luke ii. 15, 
as a child to a parent, and as a servant 
to his master. Add to this, that it seems 
not only true, but requisite, that Christ 
should be of some trade, because by the 
Jewish canons all fathers were bound to 
teach their children some trade ; yea, says 
the learned Dr. Whitby, their most ce- 
lebrated Rabbins thought it a great re- 
proach not to be of some trade : doubtless 
cur Lord, during his private life, did give 
no example of idleness. Indeed, after he 
entered upon his prophetic office, he no 
longer followed Joseph's calling, but appli- 
ed himself wholly to the work of the mi- 
nistry : he made no more ploughs, but one 
to break up hard hearts ; no more yokes, 
but one for the devil's neck. However, in 
regard to our Saviour's low extraction and 
mean education, his countrymen were 
offended at him. Learn hence. That the 
poverty and meanness of Christ's condition, 
was that which multitudes stumbled at, 
and which kept many, yea most, from 
believing on him. None but a spiritual 
eye can discern beauty in a humbled and 
abased Saviour. Learn, 2. That it is the 
property and practice of profane men to 
take occasion, from tlie outward quality 
and condition of God's ministers, both to 
despise their persons, and to reject their 
doctrine. Observe, 4. The reason as- 
signed by our Saviour why the men of Na- 



zareth despised him and set him at nought , 
because he was their countryman and 
acquaintance : their familiarity bred con- 
tempt. Teaching us. That very often the 
faithful ministers of God are most con- 
temned and dishonoured where they are 
most familiarly known. Sometimes the 
remembrance of their mean original and 
extraction, sometimes the poverty of their 
parents' condition, sometimes the inde- 
cencies of theii childhood, sometimes the 
follies of their youth, are ripped up ; all 
which are occasions of contempt, and 
gave ground for this proverbial saying. 
That a prophet is not without honour 
save in his own countri/. Which, like 
other proverbial speeches, holds true in the 
general, and that for the most part it is so, 
but it is not universally true in all persons 
and cases. However, this good use may 
be made of our Saviour's observation, to 
teach his ministers to be wise in conversing 
with their people, not to make themselves 
cheap and common in every company, 
not too familiar with all sorts of persons, 
nor to be light and vain in any company j 
for this will certainly breed contempt, 
both of their persons and ministry. Our 
duty is, by strictness and gravity of de- 
portment, to maintain our esteem in the 
consciences of our people, and to temper 
gravity with condescending affability. 
That minister who prostitutes his authority, 
frustrates the end of his ministry, and is 
the occasion of his own contempt. Ob- 
serve, 5. How this people's contempt of 
Christ's person, and unbelief of his doc- 
trine, did hinder Christ from working mi- 
racles among them : He could do no 
mighty works there. Not because he 
was unable, but because they were unwil- 
ling. Not as if their infidelity abated his 
divine power, but they were unprepared 
to receive any benefit by him ; his miracles 
would have been cast away upon such 
inconvincible persons. Who will sow 
upon barren sands, or water dead plants ? 
It was an act of justice in Christ to deprive 
the Pharisees of those advantages which 
they had so long resisted. Christ had a 
natural ability to do mighty works there, 
but no moral ability. He could not do 
it honourably, their unbelief was a moral 
hinderance ; so then this inability proceed- 
ed from no deficiency in Christ's power, 
but from a defect in their faith. He could 
not, l)ecause he would not ; and he would 
not, because it was not fit for him so to 
do. Although Christ be omnipotent, 



Chap. VI. 



ST. MARK. 



lt)5 



and has all power in his hands, yet un- 
belief binds his hands, and hinders him 
in the execution of that power. Unbelief 
is such a sin, as keeps men from being 
partakers of the benefits of Christ. Ob- 
serve, 6. How the incredulity and unbelief 
of this people was so great, that Christ 
wondered at it : He marvelled because of 
their unbelief. Not because he was igno- 
rant of the cause of it, but because he had used 
such marvellous means for the curing them 
of their unbelief. Learn hence. That unbelief 
is a great sin at all limes; but when 
marvels are wrought for the cure and 
healing of it, and it remains uncured, it 
is a marvellous sin, and justly causes ad- 
miration and wonder in Christ himself: 
He marvelled because of their unbelief 

7 And he calleth vnto him the 
twelve, and began to send them forth 
by two and two ; and gave them 
power over unclean spirits ; 8 And 
commanded them that they should 
take nothing for f/ieir journey, save 
a staff only ; no scrip, no bread, no 
money in their purse : 9 But be 
shod with sandals ; and not put on 
two coats. 10 And he said unto 
them. In what place soever ye enter 
into an house, there abide till ye de- 
part from that place. 11 And who- 
soever shall not receive you, nor hear 
you, when ye depart thence shake 
oif the dust under your feet for a 
testimony against them. Verily I 
say unto you, It shall be more toler- 
able for Sodom and Gomorrha in 
the day of judgment, than for that 
city. 12 And they went out, and 
preached that men should repent. 
13 And they cast out many devils, 
and anointed with oil many that 
were sick, and healed them. 

We heard before, chap. iii. of our Sa- 
viour's solemn calling his apostles to their 
work and office : now he sends them forth 
to execute their office. Where observe, 1. 
The person that sends them tbrth ; Christ. 
Learn thence, That none ought to take upon 
them the office of preaching, or any other 
ministerial function in the church, till there- 
unto lawfully called by Christ himself. The 
apostles were immediately called and sent 
forth by Christ himself, and received the 
doctrine which they taught immediately 



from Christ's own mouth. His ministers 
now are called mediately, they receive their 
authority from Christ by the hands of the 
governors of his church. Observe, 2. The 
manner of their sending, by two and two 
in a company : partly to make their mes- 
sage of more authority j partly to testify their 
mutual consent in the doctrme which they 
taught ; and partly to comfort and en- 
courage, to help and strengthen, to assist 
and support each other : in imitation of this 
example, the Jesuits send forth their 
emissaries by pairs. Learn hence. That 
the ministers of the word do stand in great 
need of the mutual help and comfort, of 
the united assistance and encouragement of 
each other, in the weighty duties of their 
calling and function ; like labourers in the 
harvest-field, they should help one another, 
the strong endeavouring to strengthen the 
hands of the weak. But, Lord, what tears 
are sufficient to bewail the want of love 
and unity, yea, the prevalency of that fear 
and malignity which is found too often 
amongst the ministers of the gospel! So 
that instead of going forth by two and two, 
happy is he that is alone in a place. Well 
might Melancthon bless God, when he lay 
a-dying, that he was going to a place where 
he should be freed from the implacable 
hatred of divines. This is, and ought to 
be, for a lamentation. Observe, 3. The 
power given by Christ to work miracles 
tor confirming the doctrine of the gospel 
which his apostles preached ; he gave them 
power over unclean spirits, and they cast 
out devils, and anointed with oil them 
that were sick, and healed them. This 
power to work miracles was necessary for 
the apostles; partly to procure reverence 
to their persons, being poor and unlearn- 
ed men, but principally to gain credit and 
authority to their doctrine ; for the doctrine 
of faith in the Messiah, as now come, and 
exliibited in the flesh, being a strange and 
new doctri-ne to the Jews, the truth and 
certainty of it was to be extraordinarily 
ratified by Christ's and his aposdes' mira- 
cles, some of which were casting out of de- 
vils ; and by anointing with oil, to heal 
and recover sick persons. This gift of 
healing remained some time in the church, 
as appeared by St. James v. 14. Is any 
side'/ Anoint him ivith oil in the name 
of the Lord. Where observe. That the 
apostles did not use oil as the instrument 
and means of healing, (for then the cure 
had not been miraculous,) but only as a 
symbol of the cure, or as an outward sign 
o 2 



19G 



ST. MARK. Chap, VI. 



and testimony of miraculous healing : 
which outward sign was for the strength- 
ening of the taith of such as were healed : 
assuring them, that as certainly as their 
bodies were anointed, so certainly should 
their health and strength be restored. The 
Papists upon this ground their sacrament of 
Extreme Unction ; but very vainly : for 
the apostles anointed those that were sick, 
as a sign of their recovery ; but the Papists 
anoint those that have the pangs of death 
upon them, that their sins may be blotted 
out, and the snares of the devil avoided. 
Observe, 4. The charge given by Christ to 
his apostles at the time of their sending out. 
This IS threefold : first. Touching their pre- 
paration for their journey, he bids them not 
take much care, nor spend much time in 
furnishing themselves with victuals, money, 
apparel, weapons of defence, and the like ; 
only taking a walking-statf in their hands, 
because they were to finish their journey 
speedily, and to return again to Christ. 
This command of our Saviour to his apos- 
tles, not to incumber themselves when go- 
ing forth to preach the gospel, teaches his 
ministers their duty, to tree themselves as 
much as possibly they can from worldly 
incumbrances, which may hinder them in 
the performance of their ofhce and func- 
tion, 2 Tim. ii. 4. No ?/ian that -warretli 
entangleth himself "with the affairs of 
this life. Secondly, Touching their lodg- 
ing in their journey. Our Saviour ad- 
vises them not to change it, during their 
stay in one place ; but into whatsoever 
house they first entered, they should there 
continue till they departed out of that 
place ; that so they might avoid all show 
of lightness and inconstancy, and tes- 
tify all gravity and stayedness in their be- 
haviour, this being a special mean to win 
authority to their persons and ministry. 
Thirdly, Christ gives a charge to his apos- 
tles touching their carriage towards such as 
should refuse to give entertainment to them 
and their doctrine. They were to denounce 
the judgments of God against such con- 
temners, by shaking off' the dust of their 
feet for a testimony against them. 
Thence learn. That the contempt of God's 
ministers, and especially of their ministry 
and doctrine, is an odious and execrable 
sin, detested by God, and which ought to 
be abhorred by man : Shake off the dust 
of your feet. This action was emblema- 
tical, signifying that Almighty God would 
in like manner shake them off as the vilest 
dust. Learn, 2. That wherever the word 



is preached, it is for a testimony ; either 
tor or against a people. For if the dust of 
a minister's feet bear witness against the 
despisers of the gospel, their sermons much 
more. Observe, lastly, The dreadful judg- 
ment denounced by our Saviour against 
the contemners of the apostles' doctrine : 
Verily it shall be more tolerable for So- 
dom and Gomorrah in the day ofjudg- 
ment than for that city. Where note, 1. 
That there shall be a day of judgment. 2, 
That in the day of judgment some sinners 
shall fare worse than others. 3. That of 
all sinners the condition of such will be 
saddest at the day of judgment who hav- 
ing lived under the gospel, have died after 
all in impenitency and infidelity : Verity 
I say unto you. It shall be more tolerable 
for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of 
judgment, than for that city. 

14 And king Herod heard of 
him ; (for his name was spread 
abroad ;) and he said, That John the 
Baptist was risen from the dead, 
and therefore mighty works do shew 
forth themselves in him. 15 Others 
said. That it is Elias. And others 
said, That it is a prophet, or as one 
of the prophets. 16 But when He- 
rod heard thereof, he said, It is 
John, whom I beheaded : he is risen 
from the dead. 17 For Herod him- 
self had sent forth and laid hold 
upon John, and bound him in pri- 
son for Herodias' sake, his brother 
Philip's wife; for he had married 
her. 18 For John had said unto 
Herod, It is not lawful for thee to 
have thy brother's wife. 19 Therefore 
Herodias had a quarrel against him, 
and would have killed him ; but she 
could not. 20 For Herod feared 
John, knowing that he was a just 
man and an holy, and observed 
him ; and when he heard him, he 
did many things, and heard him 
gladly. 21 And when a convenient 
day was come, that Herod on his 
birth-day made a supper to his 
lords, high captains, and c'.iiefcA'<a/cs 
of Galilee ; 22 And when the daugh- 
ter of the said Herodias came in, 
and danced, and pleased Horod and 
them that sat with him, the king 



Chap. VI. 



ST. MARK. 



197 



said unto the damsel, Ask of me 
whatst)ever thou wilt, and I will give 
i< thee. 23 And he sware untohcr. 
Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I 
will give it thee, unto thehalf of my 
kingdom. 24 And she went forth, 
and said unto her mother, What 
shall I ask ? And she said. The 
head of John the Baptist. 25 And 
she came in straightway with haste 
unto the king, and asked, saying, I 
will that thou give me, by and by in 
a charger, the head of John the 
Baptist. 26 And the king was ex- 
ceeding sorry ; yet for his oath's 
sake, and for their sakes which sat 
with him, he would not reject her. 
27 And immediately the king sent 
an executioner, and commanded his 
head to be brought : and he went 
and beheaded him in the prison, 28 
And brought his head in a charger, 
and gave it to the damsel : and the 
damsel gave it to her mother. 29 
And when his disciples heard of if, 
they came and took up his corpse, 
and laid it in a tomb. 

The history of John the Baptist's death 
is here recorded by this evangehst, as St. 
Matthew had done before, chap. xiv. 1, 2. 
Here we have these particulars further ob- 
servable ; 1. The character and description 
of a zealous and faithful minister. He is 
one that deals plainly, and dares tell the 
greatest persons of their faults. Herod, 
though a king, is reproved by the Baptist 
for his incest, in taking his brother's wife. 
The crown and sceptre of Herod could not 
daunt the faithful messenger of God. There 
ought to meet in the ministers of God 
both courage and impartiality. Courage, 
in fearing no faces ; impartiality, in spar- 
ing no sins. Observe, 2. Who it was 
that commanded the Baptist to be beheaded. 
It was Herod the Icing, whom he had 
reproved. How sad is it when kings, who 
should be nursing fathers to the church, 
do prove the bloody butchers of the 
prophets of God ! The severest persecu- 
tions which the prophets of God have 
fallen under, are usually occasioned by 
their telling great men of their crimes. 
Men in power are impatient of reproof, 
and imagine that their authority gives 
thera a licence to transgress. Observe, '3, 



The time of the Baptist's death ; it was 
upon Herod's birth-day. It was an an- 
cient custom among the eastern kings to 
celebrate their birth-days: Pharaoh did 
so. Gen. xl. and Herod here, but both 
with blood ; yet these personal sins do 
not make the practice unlawful, when we 
solemnize our birth-days with thankfulness 
to our Creator and Preserver, and recom- 
mend ourselves by prayer to his gracious 
providence and protection for the remain- 
der of our days ; this is an act of piety 
and religion. But Herod's birth-day was 
kept with revelhng, with feasting, with 
music and dancing : all which were made 
sinful to him by the circumstances which 
did attend it. Great men's feasts r.nd frolics 
are too often the season and occasion of much 
sin. Observe, 4. The instigators and 
promoters of the holy Baptist's death : 
Hcrodias and her daughter. Lord, how 
deadly is the malice of souls debauched 
with lust I bnprisonment would not 
satisfy them, they must have his blood. 
Resolute sinners, who are mad upon their 
lusts, run furiously upon their opposers, and 
resolve to bear down all opposition they 
meet with in the gratification of their un- 
lawful desires. Observe, 5. With what 
great reluctance Herod consented to this 
villany : The king was exceeding sorry. 
Wicked men oft-times sin with a troubled 
and disturbed conscience ; there is a mighty 
struggle betwixt their reason and their 
lusts ; but at last they master their con- 
sciences, and choose rather to gratify their 
lusts, than to obey their reason. So did 
Herod here : for notwithstanding his sorrow, 
he commands the act; he sent and be- 
headed John in the prison. Observe, 6. 
The motives and inducements which pre- 
vailed with Herod to behead this holy man. 
1, The conscience of his oath : Neverthe- 
less, for his oath's sake. See his hypoc- 
risy ; he made scruple of a rash oath, who 
made no scruple of real murder. See here 
not only the folly, but great impiety of 
rash vows •, especially in ignorant persons, 
who think themselves obliged by them, 
whereas it is their duty, first to repent of 
them, and then to break them as fast as 
they can. St. Chrysoslom says, Herod 
might have spared the Baptist's head, and 
yet have kept his oath to Herodias ; for 
he swore to give her only half of his 
kingdom, and his head was worth more than 
his whole kingdom. 2. Respect to his re- 
putation, not only for his oath's sake, but 
for thnn that sat with him. They heard 



198 



hina promise, and will be witness of his 
inconstancy if he do not perform. Insisting 
upon punctihos of honour has hazarded the 
loss of millions of souls. 3. His great un- 
willingness to discontent Herodias and her 
daughter. O vain and foolish hypocrite, 
who dreaded the displeasing of a wanton 
mistress more than the otiending of God 
and conscience ! Observe, 7. These bloody 
women do not only require the Baptist 
to be beheaded, but that his head be 
brought in a charger to them. What a 
dish was here to be served up at a prince's 
table on his birth-day ! a dead man's head 
swimming in blood. How prodigiously 
insatiable is cruelty and revenge ! Herodias 
did not fhink herself safe till John was 
dead ; she would not think him dead till 
his head was off, and would not believe 
his head was off till she had it in her hand. 
Revenge never thinks it has made sure 
enough. O how cruel is a wicked heart, 
that could take pleasure in a spectacle of 
so much horror ! Methinks I see how that 
holy head was tossed upon Herod's table 
by impure and filthy hands. That true 
and faithful tongue, those sacred lips, those 
chaste eyes, those mortified cheeks, are 
now insultingly handled by a lewd and 
incestuous harlot, and made a scorn to 
Herod's drunken guests. Observe, 8. That 
neither the holiest of the prophets, nor 
the best of men, are more secure from 
violence than from natural death. The 
holy Baptist, who was sanctified in the 
womb, conceived and born with so much 
miracle, lived with so much reverence and 
observation, is now at midnight obscurely 
murdered in a close prison. Observe, 9. 
That it is as true a martyrdom to sutTer 
for duty as for faith. He dies as truly a 
martyr that dies for doing his duty, as he 
that dies for professing his faith, and bear- 
ing witness to the truth. Observe, 10. How 
far men may go in religion, and yet be far 
enough from saving grace : they may re- 
verence God's ministers, believe them to 
be holy and just men, hear them with 
delight and pleasure, protect and defend 
them from their opposers ; they may re- 
form, and do many things ; and i/et be 
far from the kingdom of God. Herod 
did all this ; he knew John to be a holy 
and just man, reverenced and respected 
him, guarded and kept him safe from 
Herodias's mo! ice. For though he was 
imprisoned before, yet Herod suffered none 
to hurt him, but heard him often with 
pleasure and delight. Wicked and un- 



ST. MARK. Chap. VI. 

regenerate men may be so aflfected with 
the word of God as to become protectors 
and defenders of those that dispense it, and 
3'et receive no saving advantage by it. The 
plain and powerful preaching of the word 
may win upon and prevail with an unre- 
generate man to perform many good duties, 
and to forsake many known sins ; and yet 
may he, after all, remain under the power 
of hypocrisy. Nay, from Herod's example 
we may learn, That a wicked man may- 
take some pleasure and delight in hearing 
the word preached; either the generality 
of the truths asserted, or the novelty of the 
notions delivered, or the wit and fancy, 
the graceful elocution and delivery, of the 
preacher, may create a present delight; 
but it is neither a spiritual delight, nor an 
abiding delight. And when his disciples 
heard of it, they came and took up his 
corpse, and laid it in a tomb. When his 
disciples heard of it ; that is, the disciples 
of John hearing that their holy master was 
thus barbarously murdered, they took up 
his dead body, and decently interred it. 
Learn hence, That the faithful servants of 
God are not ashamed of the suflTerings of 
the saints, but will testify their respect 
unto them, both living, dying, and dead. 
The disciples of John gave their master an 
honourable and respectful burial, fearing 
neither Herod's power nor Herodias's malice. 

30 And the apostles gathered 
themselves together unto Jesus, 
and told him all things, both 
what they had done, and what they 
had taught. 31 And he said unto 
them. Come ye yourselves apart into 
a desert place, and rest awhile : for 
there were many coming and going, 
and they had no leisure so much as 
to eat. 32 And they departed into 
a desert place by ship privately. 33 
And the people saw them departing, 
and many knew him, and ran a-foot 
thither out of all cities, and out- 
went them, and came together unto 
him. 34 And Jesus, when he came 
out, saw much people, and was 
moved with compassion toward them, 
because they were as sheep not 
having a shepherd ; and he began 
to teach them many things. 

Observe here, 1. How the report of John's 
death being brought to Christ, he presently 
withdraws, and his disciples with him, from 



Chap. VI. 



ST. MARK. 



199 



that place into the desert. Christ will not 
long continue liis presence in those places 
where any of his servants are slain, and 
others of them are in danger. Observe, 2. 
How our Saviour, upon the notice of John's 
death, flies into the desert for his own pre- 
servation ; his hour was not yet comCy 
and therefore he keeps out of Herod's way. 
It is no cowardice to fly from the rage of 
persecutors. Christ himself both practised 
it, and directed his disciples to it, saying. 
When they persecute you in one city Jice 
to another. We must not expose our lives 
to hazard, but when the laying down our 
lives will do God and religion more service 
than we can do by living. Observe, 3. With 
what condolency and sympathizing pity 
our blessed Saviour exercised acts of mercy 
and compassion, when the objects of com- 
passion were before him. Jesus seeing the 
multitude, was moved with compassion 
toward them. Christ, when here on earth, 
did bear a tender and compassionate heart 
towards poor creatures in distress and mi- 
sery : and to our comfort he retains the 
same compassionate nature and disposition 
now in heaven which he had here on earth. 
Observe, 4. The ground or cause of this 
compassion in our Saviour, because they 
were as sheep having no shepherd. Learn 
thence, That the case of such people is very 
sad, and their condition to be much la- 
mented and pitied, who are destitute of able, 
faithful, and conscientious pastors and teach- 
ers, to feed them with the spiritual food of 
the word and sacraments. Where provi- 
sion fails, the people perish. But was the 
Jewish church now without pastors, as 
sheep without a shepherd ? Had they not 
the Pharisees, the scribes, and doctors, to 
teach and instruct them ? Yes, no doubt ; 
but they were no pastors in Christ's account, 
because unfaithful pastors. Thence learn. 
That idle, negligent, and unfaithful pastors, 
are no pastors in the sight of God, and in 
the account of Christ : Jesus had compas- 
sion on the multitude, because they were 
as sheep having no shepherd. 

35 And when the day was now 
far spent, his disciples came unto 
him, and said. This is a desert place, 
and now the time is far passed : 36 
Send them away, that they may go 
into the country round about, and 
into the villages, and buy themselves 
bread : for they have nothing to 
eat. 37 He answered and said 



unto them, Give ye them to eat. 
And they say unto him. Shall we go 
and buy two hundred pennyworth of 
bread, and give them to eat ? 33 
He saith unto them, How many 
loaves have ye ? go and see. And 
when they knew, they say. Five, and 
two fishes. 39 And he commanded 
them to make all sit down by compa- 
nies upon the green grass. 40 And 
they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, 
and by fifties. 41 And when he had 
taken the five loaves and the two 
fishes, he looked up to heaven, and 
blessed, and brake the loaves; and 
gave them to his disciples to set be- 
fore them ; and the two fishes di- 
vided he among them all. 42 And 
they did all eat, and were filled. 43 
And they took up twelve baskets 
full of the fragments, and of the 
fishes. 44 And they that did eat of 
the loaves were about five thou- 
sand men. 

This miracle of our Saviour's feeding 
five thousand men, besides women and 
children, with five loaves and two fishes, 
is recorded by all the four evangelists, and 
in the history of it these following particu- 
lars are observable. Note, 1. The disci- 
ples' pity towards the multitude, who had 
long fasted and wanted now the ordinary 
comforts and supports of life. It well be- 
comes the ministers of Christ to respect the 
bodily necessities, as well as regard the spi- 
ritual wants of persons. Observe, 2. The 
motion which the disciples make to Christ 
on behalf of the multitude; Send them 
away that they may buy victuals. Here 
was a strong charity, but a weak faith. A 
strong charity, in desiring the people's 
relief; but a weak faith, in supposing that 
they could not otherwise be relieved but 
by sending them away ; forgetting that 
Christ, who had healed the multitude mi- 
raculously, could also feed them miracu- 
lously if he pleased ; all things being equally * 
easy to an almighty power. Observe, 3. 
Our Saviour's st-range reply to the disciples' 
request ; They need not depart ; give yc 
them to eat. Need not depart ! Why, the 
people must either feed or famish. Victuals 
they must have, and a dry desert will afford 
none. Yes, says Christ to his disciples. 
Give yc them lo eat. Alas, poor disci- 



200 



ST. MARK. 



Chan. VL 



pies! they had nothing for themselves to 
eat, how then should they give the multi- 
tude to eat ? When Christ requires of us 
what we are unable to perform, it is to show 
us our impotency and weakness, and to 
provoke us to look upon hun, and depend 
by faith on his almighty power. Ob- 
serve, 4. What a poor and slender provi- 
sion the Lord of the earth has tor his house- 
hold and family ; Jive barley loaves and 
two small fishes. Teaching us, That these 
bodies of ours must be fed, but not pam- 
pered ; our belly must not be our master, 
much less our god. The end of food is to 
sustain nature, we must not stifle it with 
a gluttonous variety. And as the quality 
of the victuals was plain, so the quantity of 
it was small ; five loaves and two fishes. 
Well might the disciples say. What arc 
these amongst so many ? The eye of sense 
and reason sees an utter impossibility of 
those effects which faith can easily appre- 
hend, and divine power more easily pro- 
duce. Observe, 5. How Christ, the great 
Master of the feast, doth marshal his guests : 
He co)nmands them all to sit down in 
ranks by hundreds and by fifties. None 
of them reply, " Sit down, but to what ? 
Here are the mouths, but where is the meat ? 
We may soon be set, but when or whence 
shall we be served ?" Not a word like this, 
but they obey and expect. Lord, how 
easy it is to trust to thy providence, and 
rely upon thy power, whea there is corn 
in the barn, bread in the cupboard, or 
money in the purse : but when our stores 
are all empty, and we have nothing in 
hand, then to depend upon an invisible 
bounty, is a true and noble act of faith. 
Observe, 6. The actions performed by our 
blessed Saviour : He blessed, and brake, 
and gave the loaves to his disciples, and 
they to the multitude. 1. He blessed 
them, teaching us by his example, never to 
use or receive the good creatures of God 
for our nourishment without prayer and 
praise ; never to sit down to our food as a 
beast to his forage. 2. He brake the loaves. 
He could have multiplied them whole, why 
then would he rather do it in the break- 
ing ? Perhaps to teach us, that we may 
rather expect his blessing in the distribution 
of his bounty, than in the reservation of it. 
Scattering is the way to increasing : libe- 
rality is tlie way to riches. 3. Christ gave 
the bread thus broken to his disciples, that 
they might distribute it to the multitude. 
But why did our Lord distribute the loaves 
by his disciples' hands ? Doubtless to gam 



respect to his disciples from the people. 
And the same course doth our Lord take 
in spiritual distributions. He that could 
teed the wurld by his own immediate hand, 
chooses rattier by the hand of his ministers 
to divide the bread of lite among his peo- 
ple. Observe, 7. The certainty and the 
greatness of the miracle : They did all eat, 
and were filled. They did all eat, not a 
crumb or a bit, but to satiety and lulness. 
All that were hungry did eat, and all thatdid 
eat were satisfied, and yet twelve baskets 
full of fragments remain. More is left 
than was at iirst set on. It is hard to say 
which was tiie greatest miracle, the mira- 
culous eating, or the miraculous leaving. 
If we consider what they eat, we may 
wonder that they left any thing : if what 
they left, that they ate any thing. Ob- 
serve, 8. These fragments, though of barley 
loaves and fish-bones, must not be lost, but, 
at our Saviour's command, gathered up. 
The liberal Housekeeper of the world wiU 
not allow the loss of tiis orts. O how tre- 
mendous will their account be, who hav- 
ing large and plentiful estates, spend them 
upon tlieir lusts, being worse than lost in 
God's account. 

45 And straic,htway he constraia- 
ed his disciples to get into the ship, 
and to go to the other side before 
unto Betlisaida, while he sent away 
the people. 40 And when he had 
sent them away, he departed into a 
mountain to pray. 47 And when 
even was come, the ship was in the 
midst of the sea, and he alone on 
the land. 48 And he saw them 
toiling in rowing ; for the wind was 
contrary to them ; and aliout the 
fourth watch of the night hecometh 
unto them, walking upon the sea, 
and would have passed by theni. 
49 Hut when they saw hiin waiknig 
ui)on the sea, they su(>posed it had 
been a spirit, and cried out : 50 
For they all saw him, and were 
troubled. And immediately he talk- 
ed with them, and saith unto tliem. 
Be of good cheer : it is I ; be not 
afraid. 51 And he went up unto 
them into the ship ; and the wind 
ceased : and tiiey were sore amazed 
in themselves beyond measure, and 
wondered. 52 For they considered 



Chap. VI. 



ST. MARK. 



201 



not the miracle of the loaves : for 
their heart was hardened. 

This paragraph acquaints us with another 
miracle which our Saviour wrought, in 
•walkina- upon the sea to his disciples ; and 
herein we have observable, 1. IIis sending 
his disciples to sea: He constrained them 
to go into a ship: not compelling them 
against their wills, but commanding them 
to take ship and go before him. No doubt 
the disciples were loath to do this, unwilling 
to leave him, and to go without him ; for 
they that have once tasted the sweetness of 
Christ's company and acquaintance, are 
hardly and ditficultly drawn away from 
him. Observe, 2. Christ having dismissed 
his disciples and the company, retires into 
a mountain to pray ; to teach us, that when 
we address ourselves to God in duty, we 
take all helps, furtherances, and advantages, 
for the doing of our duty. We must 
dismiss the multitude, before we address to 
God in prayer ; we must send away the 
multitude of worldly cares, worldly 
thoughts, worldly concerns and business, 
when we would wait upon God in duty. 
ObsCTve, 3. The great danger the disciples 
were in, and the difficulties they were to 
encounter with : Thei/ -were in the rnidst 
of the sea, tossed with the waves, and the 
•winds were contrary ; and, which was 
saddest of all, Christ was absent. The 
wisdom of God sometimes suffers his chil- 
dren and people not only to be distressed, 
but greatly distressed with a variety of dis- 
tresses. Observe, 4. The seasonable succour 
and relief which Christ afforded his disciples : 
Jn the fourth watch he came out unto 
them, walking upon the waters. It was 
not a stormy and tempestuous sea that 
could separate betwixt him and them ; he 
that waded through a sea of blood, and a 
sea of wrath, to save his people, will walk 
upon a sea of waters to succour and relieve 
them. And the time was the fourth watch ; 
about four in the morning, when they had 
been many hours conflicting with the waves, 
and in great danger of their lives. To teach 
us, That Christ sometimes lengthens out 
the trials of his children before he delivers 
them ; but when they come to an extremity, 
that is the season of his succour. Observe, 
5. How the disciples took their Deliverer for 
their destroyer: When they saw Christ 
they cried out. Their fears were highest 
when their Deliverer and deliverance were 
nearest ; God may becommg withsalvation 
and deliverance to his people, when they for 



the present cannot discern it. Observe, C. 
When the disciples were in the saddest con- 
dition, one word from Christ revives them, 
it is sufficient support in all our afflictions 
to hear Christ's voice speaking to us, and to 
enjoy his favourable presence with us. Say 
but, O Saviour, It is I, and let evils do 
their worst : that one word, Jt is J, is suffi- 
cient to allay all storms, and to calm a thou- 
sand tempests. Observe lastly, What in- 
fluence and effect this miracle had upon the 
disciples; They were sore amazed and 
beyond measure astonished ; they wonder 
at' the ceasing of the winds, and calming 
of the seas; 6ut they had forgotten the 
miracle of the loaves; which was a great 
stupidity and dulness in them, and argued 
hardness of heart, and want of consideration 
in them. Learn thence. That there is much 
stupidity of mind, and hardness of heart, 
remaining unmortified in the best of saints, 
whilst here in an imperfect state : the work 
of grace and sanctification is but imperfect in 
the best. 

53 And when they had passed 
over, they came into the land c " 
Gennesaret, and drew to the shor*^ 
54 And when they were come o. 
of the ship, straightway they knew 
him, 55 And ran throu2;h that 
whole region round about, and began 
to carry about in beds those that 
were sick, where they heard he was. 
56 And whithersoever he entered, 
into villages, or cities, or country, 
they laid the sick in the streets, and 
besought him that they might touch 
if it were but the border of his gar- 
ment : and as many as touched him 
were made whole. 

Here observe, 1. The unwearied diligence 
and industry of our Saviour in going about 
to do good : he no sooner landeth, but he 
goeth to Gennesaret, and healeth their sick. 
It was the great business and constant em- 
ployment of our Saviour's life to travel from 
place to place, that he might be useful and 
beneficial to mankind : he went to those that 
could not, and to those that would not, come 
to him. Observe, 2. Tiie people of Gen- 
nesaret's charity to their sick neighbours ; 
they sent abroad to let all the country know, 
that Christ the great Physician was come 
amongst them. There is a duty of love and 
mercy which we owe unto those that are 
in affliction and misery ; namely, to afford 



202 



ST. MARK. 



Chap. VII. 



T^ 



them the best help, relief, and succour, we 
are able, both in their inward and outward 
afflictions. Observe, 3. The suddenness 
and certainty of the cure; they touched 
him, and were made whole. The healing 
virtue lay not in their fingers, but in their 
faith ; or rather in Christ, whom their faith 
apprehended. 

CHAP. VII. 
'HEN came together unto him the 
Pharisees, and certain of the 
scribes, which came from Jerusalem. 
2 And when they saw some of his 
disciples eat bread with defiled, that 
is to say, with unwashen hands, 
they found fault. 3 For the Phari- 
sees, and all the Jews, except they 
wash their hands oft, eat not, hold- 
ing the tradition of the elders. 4 
And when they come from the market, 
except they wash they eat not. And 
many other things there be which 
they have received to hold, as the 
washing of cups, and pots, brasen 
vessels, and of tables. 5 Then the 
Pharisees and scribes asked him. 
Why walk not thy disciples according 
to the tradition of the elders, but 
eat bread with unwashen hands } 6 
He answered and said unto thern. 
Well hath Esaias prophesied of you 
hypocrites, as it is written. This 
people honoureth me with </te^r lips, 
but their heart is far from me. 7 
Howbeit, in vain do they worship 
me, teaching ybr doctrines the com- 
mandments of men. 8 For laying 
aside the commandment of God, 
ye hold the tradition of men, as 
the washing of pots and cups : and 
many other such like things ye do. 
9 And he said unto them, Full well 
ye reject the commandment of God, 
that ye may keep your own tradi- 
tion. 10 For Moses said, Honour 
thy father and thy mother; and. 
Whoso curseth father or mother, let 
him die the death : 11 But ye say. 
If a man shall say to his father or 
mother, Jt is Corban, that is to say, 
a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest 
be profited by me ; .he shall be free. 



12 And ye suffer hira no more to do 
ought for his father or his mother ; 

13 Making the word of God of none 
effect through your tradition, which 
ye have delivered : and many such 
like things do ye. 

The former part of this chapter acquaints 
us with the conference or disputation which 
our Saviour had with the Pharisees about 
their superstitious observations with the 
Jewish traditions. These traditions were 
such rites and customs as were delivered to 
them by the elders and rulers of the Jewish 
church in former times: which traditions 
they valued and regarded more than the 
express commandments of God. Learn 
thence. That superstitious men are always 
more fond of and zealous for the traditions 
of men in divine worship, than for the 
express and positive commands of God. 
Secondly, That it is the manner of such 
persons to tie others to their own practice and 
example in matters of religious worship, and 
to censure and condemn all those who do 
not conform to them in the smallest matters. 
The Pharisees here censure the disciples for 
eating with unwashen hands, because it was 
their custom to wash when they did eat ; 
yet did not Christ or his disciples refuse to 
wash before meat, as it was a civil and 
decent custom, but because the Pharisees 
made it a religious rite : teaching us, That 
what is in itself indifferent, and may with- 
out offence be done as a civil custom, ought 
to be discountenanced and opposed when 
required of us as an act of religion. The 
Jews, fearing lest they should touch any 
person or thing that was unclean, and so 
be defiled unawares, did use frequent wash- 
ings, as of cups, pots, vessels, tables, beds, 
or couches, which they lay upon when they 
eat. Thus Pharisaical hypocrisy puts God 
off with outward cleansing, instead of in- 
ward purity ; regarding more the outward 
cleanness of the hand, than the inward 
purity of the heart. This was the accusation 
of the Pharisees, to which our Saviour 
replies by way of recrimination, that if bis 
disciples did not observe the tradition of the 
elders, they (the Pharisees) did reject and 
77iake void the commandments of God, 
and did wors/iip him in vain, teaching for 
doctrines the conwiandments of men. 
Learn hence. That all service and worship 
which is offered to God, according to man's 
will and ordinances, and not according to 
the rule of God's own word, is vain and 
unprofitable : divine institution is the only 



Chap. VII. 



ST. MARK. 



203 



pure rule of religious worship, as to the sub- 
stance of it ; here, what God doth not com- 
mand, he forbids. Observe next, The 
instance which our Saviour piroduces of the 
Pharisees' violating an express command of 
God, and preferring their own traditions 
before it : he instances in the fifth com- 
mandment, which requires children to 
relieve their parents in their necessities. Now 
though the Pharisees did not deny this in 
plain terms, yet they made an exception 
from it, which, if children pleased, might 
render it vain, void, and useless. For the 
Pharisees taught, That in case the child of 
a poor parent, that wanted relief, would 
give a gift to the temple, which gift they 
called Corban, that is, a gift consecrated to 
God and religious uses, that then the chil- 
dren of such poor persons were discharged 
from making any further provision for their 
aged and impotent parents; but might 
reply after this manner, " That which thou 
" askest for thy supply is given to God, and 
" therefore I cannot relieve thee." So that 
covetous and graceless children looked upon 
it as the most frugal way, once for all, to 
line to the temple, rather than pay the 
constant rent of daily relief to their poor 
parents. Learn hence, that the practice 
of moral duties is required before, and is 
more acceptable to Almighty God than 
the most solemn acts and exercises of insti- 
tuted worship whatsoever. I tvill have 
mercy, says God, rather than sacrifice ; 
and to do justice and judgment is more 
acceptable to the Lord than burnt-offer- 
ing. Secondly, That no duty, gift, or otler- 
ing to God, is accepted where the duty of 
charity is neglected : it is much more ac- 
ceptable to God to refresh the bowels of his 
saints, who arethe livingtemples of theHoly 
Ghost, than to adorn material temples with 
gold and silver. Corban is a Syriac word, 
signifying a gift given unto God. The 
Pharisees applied these gifts to the use and 
service of the temple ; possibly to repair, beau- 
tify, and adorn it ; which had not been amiss, 
if they had not taught that such gifts to the 
temple did discharge children from the duty 
of charity to their natural parents : These 
thi?igs they ought to have done, in the first 
place, and not to leave the other undone. 
14 And when he had called all 
the people unto him, he said unto 
them, Hearken unto me every one 
of you, and understand. 15 There 
is nothing from without a man, that 
entering into him, can defile him : but 



the things which come out of him, 
those are they that defile the man. 
16 If any man have ears to hear, let 
him hear. 17 And when he was 
entered into the house from the peo- 
ple, his disciples asked him concern- 
ing the parable. 18 And he saith 
unto them, Are ye so without under- 
standing also > Do \e not perceive, 
that whatsoever thing from without 
entercth into the man, it cannot 
defile him ; 19 Because it entereth not 
into his heart, but into the belly, and 
goeth out into the draught, purging 
all meats? 20 And he said. That 
which cometh out of the man, that 
defileth the man. 21 For from 
within, out of the heart of men, pro- 
ceed evil thoughts, adulteries, forni- 
cations, murders, 22 Thefts, covet- 
ousness, wickedness, deceit, lascivi- 
ousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, 
pride, foolishness : 23 All these 
evil things come from within, and 
defile the man. 

Our blessed Saviour, leaving the Pharisees 
with some dislike, applies himself to the 
multitude, and instructs them in a very 
necessary and useful doctrine, touching the 
true original cause of all spiritual pollution 
and uncleanness ; namely, the filthiness and 
impurity of man's heart and nature. And 
that it is not the me?t eaten with the mouth, 
but the wickedness of the heart, vented by 
the mouth, which pollutes a person in God's 
account. The heart and soul of man alone 
is capable of sinful defilement. Nothing 
can defile a person in God's account, 
but that which defileth the inward man. 
Learn hence, 1. That the heart of man is 
the sink and seed-plot of all sin, the source 
and fountain of all pollution. 2. That all 
the impiety of the life proceeds from the 
impurity and filthiness of the heart. Men's 
lives would not be so bad, if their hearts 
were not worse. The disciples desiring the 
interpretation of the foregoing parable, our 
Saviour gives it them ; but withal expostu- 
lates with them for not understanding a 
matter so obvious and plain : Are ye yet 
■without understanding? As if he had 
said, " Have you sat thus long under my 
ministerial teaching, and enjoyed the 
benefit of my conversation, and yet are no 
farther proficients in knowledge ?" Plainly 



204 



ST. MARK. 



Chap. VII. 



intimating, that Christ expects a proficiency 
in knowledge from us proportionable to the 
opportunities and means of knowledge en- 
joyed by us. Having given them this 
rebuke, he next acquaints them with the 
sense and meaning ot the parable ; namely, 
that it is out of a wicked and sinful heart 
that all sin and wickedness doth proceed. 
Though the occasions of sin are from with- 
out, yet the source and original of it is 
from within. The heart of man is as a 
cage full of unclean birds; hence proceed 
evil thoughts, either against God or our 
neighbours. Adulteries, or all the sins of 
the flesh. Murders ; that is, all cruelty 
and hard dealing towards others. An 
evil eye : that is, an envious spirit, which 
frets and grieves at the happiness of others ; 
called an evil eye, because envy doth much 
show and manifest itself in the outward coun- 
tenance, and especially by the eyes. From 
the whole note, That the best way to hin- 
der the progress of sin in the life, is to 
mortify it in the heart, to crucify all in- 
ordinate motions, lusts, and corruptions, 
in their root ; for the heart is the first seat 
and subject of sin, from whence it flows 
forth into the life and conversation. 

24 And from thence he arose, 
and went into the borders of Tyre 
and Sidon, and entered into an 
house, and would have no man 
know it : but he could not be hid. 
25 For a certain woman, whose 
daughter had an unclean spirit, 
heard of him, and came and fell at 
his feet. 2G The woman was a 
Greek, a Syrophenician by nation : 
and she besought him that he would 
cast forth the devil out of her daugh- 
ter. 27 But Jesus said unto her. 
Let the children first be filled : for 
it is not meet to take the children's 
bread, and to cast it unto the dogs. 
28 And she answered and said unto 
him, Yes, Lord : yet the dogs under 
the table eat of the children's 
crumbs. 29 And he said unto her, 
For this saying go thy way ; the 
devil is gone out of thy daughter. 
30 And when she was come to her 
house, she found the devil gone out, 
and her daughter laid upon the bed. 

All along, in the history of our Saviour's 
life, we are to take notice how he went 



about from place to place doing good 
Being now come into the borders of Tyre 
and Sidon, he finds a poor woman of the 
race of the Canaanites, who becomes first 
an humble supplicant, and then a bold 
beggar, on the behalf of her possessed 
daughter. Where observe, 1. That though 
all Israel could not example the faith of 
this Canaanite, yet was her daughter tor- 
mented with a devil. Learn thence, That 
neither truth of faith, nor strength of faith, 
can secure against Satan's inward tempta- 
tions, or outward vexations ; and, conse- 
quently, the worst of bodily affiictions are 
no sufficient proof of divine displeasure. 
Observe, 2. The daughter did not come 
to Christ for herself, but the mother for 
her. Perhaps the child was not so sensible 
of its own misery, but the mother feels 
both the child's sorrow and her own. 
True goodness teaches us to appropriate 
the afflictions of others to ourselves, caus- 
ing us to bear their griefs, and to sympa- 
thize with them in their sorrows. Observe, 
3. The seeming severity of Christ to this 
poor woman : he calls her not a woman, 
but a dog ; and, as it were, spurns her 
from the table. Did ever so severe a word 
drop from those mild lips ? What shall 
we say ? Is the Lamb of God turned a 
lion, that a woman in distress, imploring 
pity, should be thus rated out of Christ's 
presence ? But hence we learn, How 
Christ puts the strongest faith of his own 
children upon the severest trial. This 
trial had never been so sharp, if her faith 
had not been so strong ; usually where 
God gives much grace, he tries grace 
much. Observe, 4. The humble carriage 
of this holy woman : her humility grants 
all, her patience overcomes all, she meekly 
desires to possess the dogs' place ; not to 
crowd to the fable, but to creep under it, 
and to partake of the crumbs of mercy that 
fall from thence. Nothing is so pleasing 
to Christ as to see his people follow him 
with faith and importunity when he seems 
to withdraw himself from them. 

31 And again, departing from the 
coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he came 
unto the sea of Galilee, through 
the midst of the coasts of Decapolis. 

32 And they bring unto him one 
that was deaf, and had an impedi- 
ment in his speech ; and they be- 
seech him to put his hand upon him. 

33 And he took him aside from the 



Chap. VII. 



ST. MARK. 



205 



multitude, and put his fingers into 
his ears, and he spit, and touched 
his tongue ; 34 And looking up to 
heaven, he sighed, and saith unto 
him, Ephphatha, thatis, Be opened. 
35 And straightway his ears were 
opened, and the string of his 
tongue was loosed, and he spake 
plain. 36 And he charged them 
that they shouhl tell no man : but 
the more he charged them, so much 
the more a great deal they publish- 
ed it ; 37 And were beyond measure 
astonished, saying. He hath done all 
things well : he maketh both the deaf 
to hear, and the dumb to speak. 

See here, 1. The bitter fruits and sad 
effecls of sin, which has brought deafness, 
dumbness, and bhndness, upon the human 
nature. As death, so all diseases, entered 
into the world by sin ; sin first brought 
infirmities and mortahty into our natures, 
and the wages of sin are diseases and 
death. Observe, 2. That the blessing of 
bodily health and healing is from Christ ; 
who by his divine power, as he was God, 
miraculously and immediately healed them 
that were brought unto him. Observe, .3. 
The actions and gestures which our Sa- 
viour used in healing this deaf person. He 
puts his fingers into his ears, he spit, and 
touched his tongue. Not that these were 
means or natural causes effecting the cure, 
for there was no healing virtue in the 
spittle ; but only outward signs, testimonies, 
and pledges, of Christ's divine power and 
gracious readiness to cure the person in 
distress. Observe, 4. How Christ with- 
drew the person from the multitude, whom 
he was about to help and heal. Teaching 
us, in all our good works, to avoid all 
show and appearance of ostentation and 
vain-glory ; to set God's glory before our 
eyes, and not seek our own praise. Ob- 
serve, 5. The effect which this miracle 
had upon the multitude : it occasioned 
their astonishment and applause. T/iej/ 
•were astonished, and said. He hath done 
all things well. It becomes us both to 
take notice of the wonderful works of God, 
and also to magnify and extol the author 
of them. This is one way of glorifying 
our Creator. 

CHAP. vni. 

TN those days, the multitude being 
very great, and having nothing to 



eat, Jesus called his disciples rmto 
him, and saith unto them, 2 I have 
compassion on the multitude, be- 
cause they have now been witii me 
three days, and have nothing to eat : 
3 And if I send them away fasting 
to their own houses, they will faint 
by the way : for divers of them came 
from far. 4 And his disciples an- 
swered him. From whence can a man 
satisfy these men with bread here in 
the wilderness ? 5 And he asked 
them. How many loaves have ye .'' 
And they said. Seven. 6 And he 
commanded the people to sit down 
on the ground : and he took the 
seven loaves, and gave tiianks, and 
brake, and gave to his disciples to 
set before them ; and they did set 
them before the people. 7 And they 
had a few small fishes : and he 
blessed, and commanded to set them 
also before them. 8 So they did 
eat, and were filled : and they took 
up of the broken meat that was left 
seven baskets. 9 And they that 
had eaten were about four thousand : 
and he sent them away. 

This chapter begins with the relation of 
a famous miracle wrought by our Savi- 
our ; namely, his feeding of four thousand 
persons with seven loaves and a few fishes. 
And here we have observable. First, The 
tender care which Christ took of the bodies 
of men, to provide all necessaries for their 
support and comfort ; He s:ivcth us richly 
all things to enjoy. The great House- 
keeper of the world openeth his hand and 
filleth all things living with plentcousness. 
How careful was our Saviour here, that the 
bodies of poor creatures might not faint, 
nor be over weak and veary by the way .' 
Therefore he would not dismiss them 
without refreshment. Observe, 2. The 
original source and spring from whence 
this care that Christ had of the multitude 
did proceed and flow ; namely, from 
that sympathizing pity and tender com- 
passion which the merciful heart of Christ 
did bear towards persons in distress and 
misery. Learn hence. That the tender 
pity and compassion of Christ is not the 
spring and fountain of spiritual mercies 
only, but of temporal blessings also ; 1 
have compassion on the ?nultitude, who 



206 



ST. MARK. 



Chap. VIII. 



have nothing to eat. Observe, 3. How 
the disciples, not seeing any outward visible 
means tor the people's support, conclude 
it impossible for so many to be satisfied 
with the little supply they had ; namely, 
seven loaves and a tew small fishes. Learn 
thence, That a weak faith soon grows 
thoughtful, and sometimes distrustful, at 
the sight of difficulties. Wherice, say the 
disciples, ca7i these men be satisfied xoith 
bread ? Not considering that the power 
of God in blessing our food, is far above 
the means of food. It is as easy for him 
to sustain and nourish us with a little as 
•with much ; Man livetk not by bread, 
but by the blessing of God upon the bread 
he eats. Observe, 4. That although Christ 
could have fed these four thousand without 
the loaves, yet he takes and makes use of 
them, seeing they might be had. Learn 
hence, That Christ did not neglect his 
Own appointed ordinary means, nor do 
any thing in an extraordinary way, farther 
than was absolutely necessary. Christ 
was above means, and could work without 
them ; and when they failed, did so : but 
•when the means were at hand, he made 
use of them himself, to teach us never to 
expect that in a way of miracle which 
may be come at in a way of means. 
Observe, 5. From our Lord's example, 
that religious custom of begging a blessing 
upon our food before we sit down to it, 
and of receiving the good creatures of 
God with thanksgiving. How unworthy 
is he of the crumbs that fall from his own 
table, who, with the swine, looks not up 
unto, and takes no thankful notice of, the 
hand that feeds him ! Observe, 6. The 
certainty and greatness of the miracle : They 
did all eat, and were filled. They did 
all eat, not a crust of bread, or a bit of 
fish, but to satiety and fulness. All that 
•were hungry did eat, and all that did eat 
■were satisfied, and yet seven baskets re- 
main : more is left than was at first set on. 
It is hard to say which was the greatest 
miracle, the miraculous eating or mira- 
culous leaving. If we consider what they 
eat, we may wonder that they left any 
thing ; if what they left, that they ate any 
thing. Observe, lastly, Our Lord's com- 
mand to gather up the fragments, teaches 
us. That we make no waste of the good 
creatures of God. The fragments of fish- 
bones and broken bread must be gathered 
vip : the liberal Housekeeper of the world 
will not allow the loss of his orts. Frugality 
is a cornmendaljle duty; God hath made 



us stewards, but not absolute lords of his 
blessings. We must be accountable to 
him for all the instances of his bounty 
received from him. 

10 And straightway he entered 
into a ship with his disciples, and 
came into the parts of Dalnianutha. 
11 And the Pharisees came forth, 
and began to question with him, 
seeking of hira a sign from heaven, 
tempting him. 12 And he sighed 
deeply in his spirit, and saith. Why 
doth this generation seek after a 
sign ? Verily I say unto you. There 
shall no sign be given unto this ge- 
neration. 13 And he left them, 
and, entering into the ship again, 
departed to the other side. 

Observe here, 1 . The unreasonable prac- 
tice of the wicked Pharisees in asking a 
sign of Christ ; that is, some new and extra- 
ordinary miracle to be wrought by him, to 
demonstrate him to be the true and promised 
Messias. But had not our Saviour showed 
them signs enow already ? What were all 
the miracles daily wrought before their eyes, 
but convincing signs of his divine power ? 
But infidelity, mixed with obstinacy, is ne- 
ver satisfied. Observe, 2. Our Saviour's 
carriage towards these obstinate Pharisees, 
who persisted in their unbelief : he sighed 
deeply in his spirit, and mourned for the 
hardness of their hearts. Learn hence. That to 
grieve and mourn for the sins of others, to be 
affected with them, and deeply afflicted for 
them, is a gracious and Christ-like temper. 
It is not sufficient to make an outward show 
of grieving for others' sins, but we ought 
to lay them to heart, and to be inwardly af- 
flicted for them : Jesiis sighed deeply in 
his spirit. Observe, 3, A sharp reproof 
given by our Saviour to them. At the same 
time that our Saviour did inwardly grieve for 
the Pharisees' wickedness, he did openly re- 
prove them for it. It is not sufficient that 
we mourn for the sins of others, but we must 
prudently reprove them, as occasion is offer- 
ed, and our duty requireth. Observe, 4. 
The sin which the Pharisees are reproved 
for ; namely, for seeking after a sign ; 
that is, for demanding new miracles, after 
he had wrought so many before their eyes, 
to prove the divinity of his person. Learn 
thence, That it is a sin for any to require 
new signs and miracles for the confirmation 
of that doctrine which has been aireadv 



Chap. VIII. ST. MARK. 

sufficiently confirmed by miracles ; yea, an 
heinous sin, which deserveth a sharp re- 
proof and censure. Observe lastly. Our 
Saviour's peremptory denial of the Phari- 
sees' presumptuous request : There shall be 
no sign given to this generation ; that is, 
no such sign or miracle as they desire, or 
would have: no sign or miracle shall be 
wrought at their motion and suit. Al- 
though after this, Christ of his own accord, 
and at his own pleasure, wrought many 
miracles before their eyes. Such as wilfully 
harden themselves against the light of their 
own consciences, are righteously delivered 
up to hardness of heart, and final impeni- 
tency. These hypocritical Pharisees shut 
their eyes against the most convictive evi- 
dence ; and they are given up to their own 
obstinacy : our Saviour left them, and de- 
parted. 

14 Now the disciples had for- 
gotten to take bread, neither had 
they in the ship with them more 
than one loaf. 15 And he charged 
them, saying, Take heed, beware of 
the leaven of the Pharisees, and of 
the leaven of Herod. 16 And they 
reasoned among themselves, saying, 
It is because we have no bread. 
17 And when Jesus knew it, he 
saith unto them. Why reason ye 
because ye have no bread ? per- 
ceive ye not yet, neither under- 
stand ? have ye your heart yet 
hardened ? 18 Having eyes, see 
ye not ? and having ears, hear ye 
not ? and do ye not remember ? 19 
When I brake the five loaves among 
five thousand, how many baskets full 
of fragments took ye up ? They say 
imto him. Twelve. 20 And when 
the seven among four thousand, 
how many baskets full of fragments 
took ye up'? And they said, Seven. 
21 And he said unto them, How is 
it that ye do not understand ? 

Observe here, 1. How dull the disciples of 
Christ were under Christ's own teaching, and 
how apt to put a carnal sense upon his words. 
They apprehended he had spoken unto them 
of the leaven of bread, what he intended of 
the leaven of the Pharisees' doctrine. Ob- 
serve, 2. The rebuke our Saviour gives his 
disciples for not understanding the sense and 



207 

signification of what he spake. Christ is 
much offended with his own people, when 
he discerns blindness and ignorance in 
them, after more than ordinary means of 
knowledge enjoyed by them : How is it 
that ye do not yet understand ? Ob- 
serve, 3. The metaphor by which Christ 
sets forth the corrupt doctrines of the Pha- 
risees and Herodians. He compares it to 
leaven. Partly for its sourness, and partly 
for its diffusiveness. Now the leaven of 
Herod, or the Herodians, is supposed to be 
this : that because Herod was made king 
of the Jews, and lived at the time when 
the Messiah was expected, there were those 
that maintained the opinion that he was 
the promised Messiah ; which opinion 
Christ compares to leaven, because as that 
diffuses itself into the whole mass or lump 
of bread with which it is mixed, so false 
doctrine, was not only evil and corrupt in 
itself, but apt to spread its contagion farther 
and farther, to the infecting of others with 
it. Learn thence. That error is as damnable 
as vice; and persons erroneous in judg- 
ment to be avoided, as well as those that 
are wicked in conversation ; and he that 
has a due care of his soul's salvation, will 
be as much afraid of erroneous principles 
as he is of debauched practices. Observe, 

4. Our Saviour docs not command his 
disciples to separate from communion with 
the Pharisees, and oblige them not to hear 
their doctrine ; but only to beware of their 
errors, which they mixed with their doc- 
trine. We may and ought to hold com- 
munion with a church, though erroneous 
in judgment, if not fundamentally erro- 
neous. For separation from a church is 
not justifiable upon any other grounds than 
that which makes a separation between 
God and that church, which is either apos- 
tasy into gross idolatry, or, in point of 
doctrine, into damnable heresy. Observe, 

5. The fault observed by our Saviour in 
his disciples, hardness of heart : Have ye 
your hearts yet hardened ? There may 
be, and oft-times is, some degree of hard- 
ness of heart in sincere christians ; but this 
is not a total hardness ; it n, lamented, and 
humbled for, not indulged and delighted 
in. As Christ is grieved for the hardness 
of his people's hearts, so are they grieved 
also ; it is both bitter and burdensome to 
them. 

22 And he cometh to Bethsaida ; 
and they bring a blind man unto 
him, and besought him to touch him. 



208 



ST. MARK. 



Chap. VIII. 



23 And he took the blind man by 
the hand, and led him out of the 
town : and when he had spit on 
his eyes, and put his hands upon 
him, he asiied him if he saw 
ought? 24 And he looked up, and 
said, I see men, as trees, walking. 
25 After that he put his hands again 
upon his eyes, and made him look 
up ; and he was restored, and saw 
every man clearly. 26 And he sent 
him away to his house, saying, Nei- 
ther go into the town, nor tell it to 
any in the town. 

Here we have recorded a special miracle 
wrought by our Saviour at Bethsaida, in 
curing a blind man brought unto him. 
Where observe, 1. What evident proof 
the Pharisees had of Christ's divine power 
and Godhead : he had before caused t/ie 
deaf to hear, the dumb to speak, and the 
lame to walk ; now he 7iiakes the blind 
to see : yet did the Pharisees obstinately 
resist all means of their conviction, and conti- 
nued in their opposition to truth, to their 
inevitable and unutterable condemnation. 
Observe, 2. The wonderful humility, the 
great condescension, of Jesus Christ towards 
this blind man ; He took him by the hand ; 
and led him, himself. A great evidence 
of his condescending humility, and of 
his goodness and mercy : showing how 
ready and willing he was to help and 
heal him. See here a singular pattern of 
humility and condescending grace and 
mercy in our dear Redeemer, in that he 
vouchsafed with his own hands to take and 
lead a poor blind man through the streets 
of Bethsaida, in the sight of all the people. 
Let us learn of him, who was thus meek 
and lowly in heart. Observe, 3. Our 
Lord helps the blind man out of the town 
before he heals him ; not in the town, 
where all the people might take notice of 
it. Thereby teaching us to avoid all show 
of ambition, all appearance of vain-glory, 
in what we do. Even as Christ sought 
not his ozi'n glory, but the glory of him 
that sent him. Observe, 4. The manner 
of the cure wrought upon this blin.d man : 
it was gradual, and by degrees ; not in- 
stantaneous, and at once : he had first a 
dark, dim, and obscure sight, afterwards a 
clear and perfect sight. Christ thereby 
gave evidence of his absolute and omnipo- 
tent power, that he was not tied to any 
particular means, or manner, or order, of 



working ; but wrought his miracles van- 
ouslv, as he saw to be most fit for the 
glory of God, and the benefit of his people. 
Observe, lastly. The charge given by our 
Saviour not lo publish this miracle in the 
town of Bethsaida ; a place where Christ 
had so oflen preached, and wrought so 
many miracles ; but the inhabitants had 
obstinately and contemptuously under- 
valued and despised both his doctrine and 
miracles: therelore we read, JSIatt. xi. 21. 
that our Saviour denounced a woe against 
Bethsaida, assuring her, that it would be 
more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon than 
for her. The higher a people rise under 
the means, the lower they fall if they 
miscarry. Such a people as have been 
nearest to conversion, being not converted, 
shall have the greatest condemnation when 
they are judged. 

27 And Jesus went out, and his 
disciples, into the towns of Ce- 
sarea Philippi : and by the way he 
asked his disciples, saying unto 
them, Whom do men say thatl am? 
28 And they answered, John the 
Baptist : but some say, Elias ; and 
others. One of the prophets. 29 
And he saith unto them. But whom 
say ye that I am ? And Peter an- 
swereth and saith unto him. Thou 
art the Christ. 30 And he charged 
them that they should tell no maa 
of him. 31 And he began to teach 
them, that the Son of man must 
suffer many things, and be rejected 
of the elders, and of the chief 
priests, and scribes, and be killed ; 
and after three days rise again. 32 
And he spake that saying openly. 
And Peter took him, and began to 
rebuke him. 33 But when he had 
turned about and looked on his dis- 
ciples, he rebuked Peter, saying. 
Get thee behind me, Satan : for 
thou savourest not the things that 
be of God, but the things that be 
of men. 

These verses relate to us a conference 
which our Saviour had with his disciples 
touching their own and others' opinion o? 
liis person. Where observe, I. The place 
where Christ and his disciples did confer : 
it was in the ivay as they walked together. 



Chap. VIII. 



ST. MARK. 



209 



Teaching us our duty to take all occasions 
and opportunities tor holy conference, tor 
good discourse touching spiritual things, 
when in the house, when in the field, when 
travelling in the way, Mai. iii. 16. Then 
ilu'if that ftared the Lord spn/ce often 
one to another. Observe, 2. The confer- 
ence itself: Whom do men say that I 
am ? That is, what do the common peo- 
ple think and speak of me ? Not as if 
Christ were ignorant what men said of 
him, or did vain-gloriously enquire after 
the opinion of the multitude concerning 
him ; but with an intention more firmly 
to settle and establish his disciples in the 
belief of his being the true and promised 
Messias. The disciples tell him, that some 
said he was John the Baptist, others 
Elias, others one of the prophets. It is 
no new thing, it seems, to find diversity of 
judgments and opinions concerning Christ, 
and the affairs of his kingdom. VVhen our 
Saviour was amongst men, who daily con- 
versed with him, yet was there then a great 
diversity of opinions concerning him. Ob- 
serve, 3. How St. Peter, as the mouth of 
all the apostles, and in their names, makes 
a full and open confession of Christ, ac- 
knowledging him to be the true and pro- 
mised Messiah : Peter said. Thou art the 
Christ. Whence note, That the vail of 
Christ's human nature did not keep the 
eye of his disciples' faith from seeing him 
to be truly and really God. 2. That Jesus, 
the Son of the Virgin Mary, was the Christ, 
the true Messiah, or the person ordained by 
God to be the Mediator betwixt God and 
man ; the Redeemer and Saviour of man- 
kind : Thou art the Christ. Observe, 4. 
The charge and special injunction given 
by our Saviour to tell no man of him ; 
that is, not commonly and openly to de- 
clare that he was the Son of God and the 
true Messiah : because he was now in his 
state of humiliation, and the glory of his 
divinity was to be concealed till his resur- 
rection. Christ had his own fit times and 
proper seasons, in which he revealed the 
great mysteries of his kingdom to the 
world. Observe, 5. The great wisdom of 
our Saviour in acquainting his disciples 
with the near approach of his death and 
passion ; thereby to prevent that scandal 
and offence which otherwise they might 
have taken at his sutftrings ; the better to 
fit and prepare them to bear that great 
trial ; and to correct the error which they 
had entertained touching an earthly king- 
dom of Christ, that the Messiah was to be 



a temporal prince. Observe, 6. St. Peter's 
carriage towards Christ upon this occasion : 
He took him aside, and began to blame 
him for affirming that he must die. O how 
ready is flesh and blood to oppose all that 
tends to suffering ! What need have we 
to be fortified against the temptations of 
our friends, as well as of our enemies ! Sa- 
tan sometimes makes use of good men as 
his instruments to do his work by, when 
they little suspect it. Little did Peter think 
that Satan now set him on work to hinder 
the redemption of mankind, by dissuading 
Christ from dying. Observe, 7. With what 
indignation Christ rejects Peter's admoni- 
tion : Get thee behind 7ne, Satan. Christ 
heard Satan speaking in Peter : it was Pe- 
ter's tongue, but Satan tuned it ; therefore 
Christ calls Peter by Satan's name. They 
that will do the devil's work, shall have 
the devil's name too. He that would hinder 
the redemption of mankind is Satan, an 
adversary to mankind. From our Saviour's 
smart reproof given to Peter, we learn. 
That no respect to men's persons, or regard 
to their piety, must cause us to flatter them 
in their sins, or move us to speak favour- 
ably of their sins. As well as our Saviour 
loved Peter, he rebukes him severely. O 
Lord ! so intent was thy heart upon the 
great work of our redemption, that thou 
couldst not bear the least word that should 
obstruct thee in it, or divert thee from it. 

34 And when he had called the 
people unto him, with his disciples 
also, he said unto them, Whosoever 
will come after me, let him deny 
himself, and take up his cross, and 
follow me. 35 For whosoever will 
save his life shall lose it ; but who- 
soever shall lose his life for my sake 
and the gospel's, the same shall 
save it. 

Observe here, L How our blessed Savi- 
our recommends his religion to every one's 
election and choice, not attempting by 
force and violence to compel any person 
to the embracing of it : If any man will 
come after me ; that is, if any man chooses 
and resolves to be a christian. Observe, 2. 
Our Saviour's terms propounded ; namely, 
self-denial, gospel-suffering, and gospel-ser- 
vice. \. Self-denial : Let him deny hi?n- 
self. By which we are not to understand, 
either the denying of our senses in matters 
of faith, or the renouncing our reason in 
the matters of religion ; but a willingness 

V 



210 



ST. MARK. 



Chap. IX. 



to part with all our earthly comforts and 
temporal enjoyments, for the sake of Christ, 
when called thereunto. 2. Gospel-sutfer- 
ing : He ?nust take up his cross. An allu- 
sion to the Roman custom, that the male- 
factor who was to be crucified took his 
cross upon his shoulder, and carried it to 
the place of execution. Where note, That 
not the making of the cross, but the patient 
bearing of it, when God has made it, and 
laid it upon our shoulders, is the duty en- 
joined : Lei li'nn take up his cross. 3. 
Gospel-service : Let /lim follow me, says 
Christ; that is, obey my commands, and 
imitate my example. He must set my life 
and doctrine continually before him, and 
be daily correcting and reforming of his 
life by that rule and pattern. Observe, 3. 
The reasons urged by our Saviour to induce 
men to a willingness to lay down their lives 
for the sake of Christ and his holy religion : 
He that will save his life, shall lose it ; 
and he that is willing to lose his life for 
the gospel's sake, the same shall find it. 
Intimating to us, 1. That the love of this 
temporal life is a great temptation to men 
to deny Christ, and to renounce his holy 
religion. And, That the surest way to at- 
tain eternal life, is cheerfully to lay down 
our temporal life, when the glory of Christ, 
and the honour of religion, requires it at 
our hand. 

36 For what shall it profit a 
man, if he shall gain the whole 
world, and lose his own soul ? 37 
Or what shall a man give in ex- 
change for his soul ? 

Our Saviour had shown in the former 
verses the great danger of seeking to save 
our temporal life, by exposing to hazard our 
eternal life. This he confirms in the words 
before us by a double argument : the first 
drawn from the excellency of eternal life, 
or the life of the soul \ the second drawn 
from the irrecoverableness of this loss, or 
the impossibility of redeeming the loss of 
the soul by any way or means whatsoever : 
What shall a man give in exchange for 
his soul? Learn, 1. That Almighty God 
has intrusted every one of us with a soul 
of inestimable worth and preciousness, ca- 
pable of being saved or lost, and that to all 
eternity. 2. That the gain of the whole 
world is not comparable with the loss of one 
precious soul : the soul's loss is an incon- 
ceivable, irrccompcnsublc, and irrecover- 
able loss. 



38 Whosoever, therefore, shall 
be ashamed of me and of my words 
in this adulterous and sinful gene- 
ration, of him also shall the Son of 
man be ashamed, when he cometh 
in the glory of his Father with the 
holy angels. 

That is, whosoever shall deny or disown 
me, either in my person, my gospel, or my 
members, for any fear or favour of man, he 
shall with shame be disowned, and eternal- 
ly rejected, by me at the great day. There 
are two passions that make persons disown 
Christ and religion in the day of tempta- 
tion ; namely, tear and shame. Many good 
men have been overcome by the former, as 
St. Peter and others ; but we find not any 
good man in scripture guilty of the latter ; 
namely, that denied Christ out of shame. 
This argues a rotten, unsound, and corrupt 
heart. If any man thinks it beneath his 
honour and quality to own the opposed 
truths and despised members of Jesus Christ, 
he will think it much more beneath him, 
his honour and dignity, to own them at the 
great day. Learn hence. That it is not 
sufficient that we own Christ by believing 
in him, we must honour him by an out- 
ward professing of him also. Secondly, 
That such as are ashamed of Christ's doc- 
trine or members, are ashamed of Christ 
himself. Thirdly, That such as either for 
fear dare not, or for shame will not, own 
the doctrine of Christ, or the members of 
Christ now, shall find Christ ashamed to 
own and confess them at the great da}-. 
Whosoever is ashamed of me, and of my 
words, in this adulterous and wicked 
generation, of him also shall the Son of 
man be ashamed, when he cometh in the 
glory of his Father, with his holy angels. 

CHAP. IX. 
/4 ND he said unto them. Verily 
"^ I say unto you, That there be 
some of them that stand here which 
shall not taste of death, till they 
have seen the kingdom of God come 
with power. 

There is a threefold sense and interpreta- 
tion given of these words by expositors : 
I. Some refer the words to the times of 
the gospel after Christ's resurrection and as- 
cension, when the gospel was preached and 
propagated far and near, and the kingdom 
(f God vnmc with power. Learn lience, 



Chap. IX. 



ST. MARK. 



211 



That where the gospel is powerfully preach- 
ed, and cheerfully obeyed, there Christ 
Cometh most gloriously in his kingdom. 
2. Others understand these words of Christ's 
coming, and exercising his kingly power 
in the destruction of Jerusalem ; which 
some of the apostles then standing by lived 
to see. 3. Others (as most agreeable to 
the context) understand the words as re- 
lating to our Saviour's transfiguration. As 
if he had said. Some of you, meaning Pe- 
ter, James, and John, shall shortly see me 
upon Mount Tabor, in such splendour and 
glory, as shall be a prmludium, a shadow 
and representation, of that glory, which I 
shall appear in, when I come to judge the 
world at the great day. And whereas our 
Saviour says not. There be some standing 
here which shall not die, but, ■whicli shall 
not taste of death, this implies two things : 
1. That after they had seen his transfigura- 
tion, they must taste of death as well as 
others. 2. That they should but taste of 
it, and no more. From whence learn, 1 . 
That the faithful servants and disciples of 
Christ must at length, in God's appointed 
time, taste and have experience of death as 
well as others. 2. That although they 
must taste, yet they shall but taste of death ; 
they shall not drink of the dregs of that 
bitter cup : though they fall by the hand 
of death, yet shall they not be overcome 
by it ; but in the very fall get victory 
over it. 

2 And after six days Jesus taketh 
vaith him Peter, and James, and 
John, and leadeth them up into 
an high mountain apart by them- 
selves : and he was transfigured be- 
fore them. 

Here we have the history of our Savi- 
our's transfiguration, when he laid, as it 
were, the garments of our frail humanity 
aside for a little time, assuming to himself 
the robes of majesty and glory, to de- 
monstrate and testify the truth of his divi- 
nity 5 for this divine glory was an evidence 
of his divine nature ; and also an emblem 
of that glory which he and his disciples, 
all his faithful servants and followers, shall 
enjoy together in heaven. 

3 And his raiment became shin- 
ing, exceeding white as snow ; so 
as no fuller on earth can white them. 
3 And there appeared unto them 
Elias with RIoses ; and thev were 



talking with Jesus. 5 And Peter 
answered and said to Jesus, Mas^ 
ter, it is good for us to be here : 
and let us make three taberna- 
cles ; one for thee, and one fot 
Moses, and one for Elias. G For 
he wist not what to say ; for they 
were sore afraid. 7 And there was 
a cloud that overshadowed them : 
and a voice came out of the cloud, 
saying. This is my beloved Son ; 
hear him. 8 And suddenly, when 
they had looked round about, they 
saw no man any more, save Jesus 
only with themselves. 

Observe here. That to confirm the dis- 
ciples' faith in the truth of Christ's divine 
nature, he was pleased to sulier the rays 
of his divinity to dart forth before their 
eyes, so far as they were able to bear it. 
His face shined with a pleasing brightness, 
and his raiment with such a glorious lustre, 
as did at once both delight and dazzle the 
eyes of the disciples. Observe, 2. The 
choice which our Saviour makes of the 
witnesses of his glorious transfiguration j his 
three disciples, Peter, James, and John. But 
why disciples ? why three disciples ? why 
these three ? 1. Why disciples ? Because 
this transfiguration was a type and shadow 
of his glory in heaven : Christ vouchsafes 
therefore the earnest and first-fruits of that 
glory only to saints, upon whom he in- 
tended to bestow the full harvest in due 
tmie. 2. Why three disciples ? Because 
three were sufficient to witness the truth 
and reality of this miracle. Judas was 
unworthy of this favour ; yet, lest he should 
murmur or be discontented, others are 
left out as well as he. But, 3. Why these 
three, rather than others? Probably, 1. 
Because these three were more eminent for 
grace, zeal, and love, towards Christ. Now 
the most eminent maniiestations of glory 
are made to those that are most excelling 
in grace. 2. These three disciples were 
witnesses of Christ's agony and passion ; 
to prepare them for which, they are here 
made witnesses of his transfiguration. This 
glorious vision upon mount Tabor fitted 
them to abide the terror of Mount Calvary. 
Observe, 3. The glorious attendants upon 
our Saviour at his transfiguration. They 
were two, two men, and those two men 
Moses and Elias. This being but a 
glimpse of Christ's glory, not a full mani- 
P 2 



212 



ST. MARK. 



Chap. IX. 



festation of, only two of the glorified saints 
attend at it. These two attendants are not 
two angels, but two men ; because men 
were more nearly concerned than angels 
in what was done. But why Moses and 
Elias rather than other men ? 1. Because 
Moses was the giver of the law, and Elias 
was the chief of the prophets. Now both 
these attending upon Christ, did show the 
consent of the law and the prophets with 
Christ, and their accomplishment and 
fulfilling in him. 2. Because these two 
•were the most laborious servants of Christ ; 
both adventured their lives m God's cause, 
and thereibre are highly honoured by him. 
For, those that honour him, he -will ho- 
nour. Observe, 4. The carriage and de- 
meanor of the disciples upon this great oc- 
casion : 1. They supplicate Jesus, not 
Moses and Elias ; they make no suit to 
them, but to Christ only : Master, it is 
good beinsr here. O what a ravishing 
comfort and satisfaction is the communion 
and fellowship of the saints! But the 
presence of Christ amongst them renders 
their joys transporting. 2. They proffer 
their service to farther the continuance 
of what they did enjoy : Let us make 
three tabernacles. Saints will stick at 
no pains or cost for the enjoyment of 
Christ's presence, and his people's com- 
pany. Learn hence. That a glimpse of 
heaven's glory is sufficient to wrap a soul 
into ecstacy, and to make it out of love 
with worldly company. 2. That we are 
too apt to desire more of heaven upon 
earth than God will allow. We would 
have the heavenly glory come down to 
us, but are unwilling by death to go up to 
that. Observe, 5. How a cloud was put 
before the disciples' eyes when the divine 
glory was manifested to them ; partly to 
allay the lustre and resplendency of that 
glory which they were swallowed up with. 
The glory of heaven is insupportable in 
this sinful stafe ; we cannot bear it unvail- 
ed : and partly to hinder their farther 
prying and looking into that glory. We 
must be content to behold God through 
a cloud darkly here, ere long luc shall see 
him face to face. Observe, 6. The tes- 
timony given out of the clo»d, by God 
the Father, concerning Jesus Christ his 
Son : This is my beloved Son ; hear him. 
Where note, 1. The dignity of his person ; 
he is mi/ Son ; for nature coessential, and 
for duration coefernal, with his Father. 
2. The endearedness of his relation : he is 
wu beloved Son : because of his conformity 



to me, and compliance with me. Likeness 
is the cause of love ; and an union and 
harmony of wills causes a mutual endear- 
ing of affections. 2. The authority of his 
doctrine ; Hear ye hi?n : not Moses and 
Elias, who were servants ; but Christ, my 
Son, whom I have commissioned to be 
the great Prophet and Teacher of my church. 
Therefore adore him as my Son, believe 
in him as your Saviour and hear him as 
your Lawgiver. The obedient ear honours 
Christ more than either the gazing eye, 
the adoring knee, or the applauding tongue. 

9 And as they came down from 
the mountain, he charged them that 
they should tell no man what things 
they had seen, till the Son of man 
were risen from the dead. 10 And 
they kept that saying with them- 
selves, questioning one with an- 
other what the rising from the dead 
should mean. 11 And they asked 
him, saying, Why say the scribes 
that Elias must first come ? 12 And 
he answered and told them, Elias 
verily cometh first, and restoreth 
all things : and how it is writ! en of 
the Son of man, that he must suffer 
many things, and be set at nought. 
13 But 1 say unto you, That Elias 
is indeed come, and they have done 
unto him whatsoever they listed, as 
it is written of him. 

Observe here, 1. The strict injunction 
given by Christ to his disciples, not to pub- 
lish or proclaim this glorious vision at his 
transfiguration till after his resurrection ; 
because, being now in a state of humiliation, 
he would have his divine majesty and 
glory vailed and concealed. Learn hence. 
That the divine glory of Christ's person, 
as God, was not to be manifested suddenly, 
and all at once, but gradually, and by 
steps. First more obscurely, by his mi- 
racles, by the forced acknowledgment of 
devils, by the free confession of hisdisciples, 
and by the glorious vision of his transfiigu- 
ration ; but the more clear and full, the 
more public and open, manifestation of his 
divine glory, was at the time of his re- 
surrection and ascension. Observe, 2. The 
disciples' obedience to Christ's injunction, 
touching the concealing of his transfigura- 
tion till after his resurrection : They kept 
that saying u-ith themselves, questioning 



Chap. IX. 



ST. MARK. 



213 



one with another -what the rising from 
the dead should mean. Not that they 
questioned the resurrection in general, but 
Christ's resurrection only in particular, 
because his resurrection did suppose his 
death •, and they could not conceive how 
the Messiah, whom they erroneously sup- 
posed must be a temporal prince, should 
suffer death at tlie hands of men. Observe, 
3. The question which the disciples put 
to Christ, how the observation of the 
Jewish doctors holds good ; namely, that 
Elias must come before the Messias came : 
we see the Messias, but no Elias. Our 
Saviour answers. That Eltas was come 
already; not Elias in person, but one in 
the spirit and power of Elias, to wit, John 
the Baptist, who was prophesied of under 
the name of Elias of the Old Testament, 
and of the New, viz. John the Baptist ; 
they were both men of great zeal for God 
and religion, they were both undaunt- 
ed reprovers of the faults of princes, 
and they were both implacably hated and 
persecuted for the same. Thence learn. 
That hatred and persecution, even unto 
death, has often been the lot and portion 
of such persons who have had the courage 
and zeal to reprove the faults of princes : 
Elias is indeed come, and they have done 
unto him whatsoever they listed. 

14 And when he came to his dis- 
ciples, he saw a great multitude 
about them, and the scribes qiies- 
tionins; with them. 15 And straight- 
way all the people, when they beheld 
him, were greatly amazed, and run- 
ning to him, saluted him. 16 And 
he asked the scribes, What question 
ye with them > 17 And one of the 
multitude answered and said, Mas- 
ter, I have brought unto thee my 
son, which hath a dumb spirit : 18 
And wheresoever he taketh him, he 
teareth him ; and he foameth, and 
gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth 
away : and I spake to tliy disciples 
that they should cast him out ; and 
they could not. 19 He answereth 
him and saith, O faithless genera- 
tion ! how long shall I be with you ? 
how long shall I suffer voii ? Bring 
him unto me. 20 And they brought 
him unto him : and when he saw 
him, straightway the spirit tare 



him ; and he fell on the ground, and 
wallowed foaming. 21 And he 
asked his father, How long is it ago 
since this came unto him } And he 
said, Of a child : 22 And oft-times 
it hath cast him into the fire, and 
into the waters, to destroy him : 
but if thou canst do any thing, have 
compassion on us, and help us. 23 
Jesus said unto him. If thou canst 
believe, all things are possible to 
him that believeth. 24 And 
straightway the father of the child 
cried out, and said with tears, Lord, 
I believe ; help thou mine unbelief. 
25 When Jesus saw that the people 
came running together, he rebuked 
the foul spirit, saying unto him, 
TkoH 6umh and deaf spirit, I charge 
thee, come out of him, and enter no 
more into him. 26 And the spirit 
cried, and rent him sore, and came 
out of him: and he was as one dead ; 
insomuch that many said. He is dead. 

27 But Jesus took him by the hand, 
and lifted him up ; and he arose. 

28 And when he was come into 
the house, his disciples asked him 
privately. Why could not we cast 
him out ? 29 And he said unto 
them, This kind can come forth by 
nothing but by prayer and fasting. 

Observe here, I. The person brought to 
Christ for help and healing : one bodily 
possessed by Satan, who had made him deaf 
and dumb from his childhood ; and oft-times 
cast him into the fire and water, but rather 
to torment than to despatch him. O how 
does Satan, tliat malicious tyrant, rejoice 
in doing hurt to the bodies, as well as the 
souls, of mankind ! Lord, abate his power, 
since his malice will not be abated. How 
great is thy goodness, in preserving us from 
the power and malice of evil spirits, and how 
watchful is thy providence over us, to 
preserve us, when Satan is seeking, by all 
imaginable means and methods, to destroy 
us. Observe, 2. The person that repre- 
sents his sad condition to our Saviour : his 
compassionate father, who kneeled down 
and cried out. Need will make a person 
both humble and eloquent. Every one 
has a tongue to speak for himself ; happy 
is he that keeps a tongue for others. Ob- 



214 



serve, 3. The circumstance of time : Satan 
had got possession of his person very young, 
in his youth ; nay, in his childhood : and 
O how hard was it to cast him out after so 
long possession! The disciples could not 
do it with all their power and prayers : 
and when our Saviour himself, by the 
power of his Godhead, did dispossess 
him, it was with foaming and rending 
that he left him. Thus when Satan gets 
possession of persons' hearts in their youth, 
O how hard will it be to cast him out ! 
It will put the soul to great grief, great 
pain, great sorrow of heart. Satan will 
endeavour to hold his own, and keep the 
sinner his slave and vassal, if all the power 
of hell can keep him. Lord, convince 
young persons, that it is easier to keep 
Satan out, than it is to cast him out of the 
possession of their hearts. Observe, 4. 
The physicians which this distressed person 
is brought unto. First to the disciples, 
and then to Jesus. We never apply our- 
selves importunately to the God of power, 
till we despair of the creatures' help. But 
why could not the disciples cast him out ? 
Christ tells them, because of their unbe- 
lief; that is, because of the weakness of 
their faith, not the total want of faith. 
Whence learn. That secret unbelief may 
lie hid and undiscerned in the heart, which 
neither others nor ourselves may take notice 
of, until some trial doth disco